MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Lots of drivers on the Dolphin Expressway had a big surprise waiting for them when they headed off to work or school Tuesday morning after the Presidents' Day weekend.
On Sunday, February 16, a new traffic pattern was implemented on westbound State Road 836 for drivers continuing west after NW 57 Avenue or traveling to State Road 826. The traffic patterns are completely opposite of what they were last week and it caught many drivers off-guard.
"This is really, really bad!" said "Rick" who was driving to Doral. "They need to get their act together! It's horrible!"
Drivers that want to continue westbound on the Dolphin Expressway need to be in the right lanes. Drivers heading to the Palmetto Expressway need to stay in the left lanes.
"It's kind of confusing, you don't really know where to go," said Natalie Lopez. "There was already an accident where the two lanes switch."
A three car crash Tuesday morning had traffic backed up as police and fire rescue raced to the scene. Also slowing down traffic was drivers trying to figure out where they were going. In many instances, drivers were stopping in the middle of the expressway to decide what lane to chose. Others put their cars in reverse to get where they needed to be.
The Florida Department of Transportation has been working to try to get the word out about the changes. They realize the lane shift is confusing.
"If you made a mistake and wanted to go westbound, use the northbound 826 exit and then you can get onto west bound 836 as we're doing here," explained Oscar Gonzalez with the Florida Department of Transportation.
Drivers on westbound SR 836 continuing west, exiting at NW 72 Avenue or West Flagler Street will need to stay on the right three lanes after passing NW 57 Avenue.
Drivers on westbound SR 836 wanting to go to SR 826 north or south beyond West Flagler Street will need to exit using the left two lanes after passing NW 57 Avenue.
Drivers on NW 72 Avenue wanting to go west on SR 836 or SR 826 north or south will need to access the entrance ramps by going west on NW 11 Street.
Westbound drivers on SR 836 exiting at NW 12 Street/NW 87 Avenue will be guided to a new ramp that lines up with NW 84 Avenue at NW 12 Street.
When it's all done late next year there will be 25 east/west lanes of traffic at the intersection. FDOT officials say it will make the commute much better. Until then, expect more frequent changes in the traffic flow.
"I hate to use the cliche,"said Gonzalez, "there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The improvement will be much, much worth it."
For information on the traffic shift, click here.
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