Florida truck-only lanes likely delayed for years

| 2/21/2003

If truck-only lanes are implemented on I-95 in Florida’s Palm Beach County, they would be at least five to six years away, The Palm Beach Post reported Feb. 21.

County Commissioner Burt Aaronson told the newspaper he would like to move on the lanes immediately. And he recently secured approval from the Metropolitan Planning Organization for a study on the idea.

However, the Florida Department of Transportation would like to wait until the widening of I-95 is completed, a project that is at least five years from being finished. After widening, the highway will be 10 lanes wide, as opposed to the current six.

Trucks traveling through Palm Beach County are already prohibited from I-95’s left lane from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Aaronson told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel in January that the proposal was designed to cut down on accidents between cars and trucks on the highway. And it garnered support from the state Department of Transportation and the Palm Beach County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

However, the DOT seems to have had some second thoughts. The Post reported that in an investigation, the agency could not find another state that had a similar restriction. DOT officials told the newspaper the lack of right-lane-only rules for trucks was probably because the rules would make it hard for trucks to pass slower-moving vehicles and for cars to enter or exit highways – contentions that Aaronson rejects.

The county isn’t alone in trying to restrict trucks in the area. Rep. Irv Slosberg told The Sun-Sentinel in early February he would sponsor a bill that would extend the current nighttime left-lane ban and extend it to 24 hours a day.

Officials at the capitol told Land Line Feb. 21 the bill had not been introduced yet. Rep. Slosberg’s office could not be reached for comment.

Nine people died in accidents that involved trucks in Palm Beach County in 2000, which The Sun-Sentinel, citing figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said was the third highest number of any county in the state.