Florida Sunpass Clients Due Refunds

State Of Florida Looking For Sunpass Users With Inactive Accounts FDOT-100TH

Sunpass account holders who have not used their transponders to pay tolls during the past three years are due a refund of money in their account, according to a news release from the Florida Department of Transportation.

In a news release issued this morning, FDOT spokesman Chad Huff wrote, “About 19,000 Floridians have open accounts with positive balances that haven’t been accessed or updated in the past 36 months. “Under Florida statutes, FDOT is required is required to remit funds from accounts that haven’t been accessed within three years to the Florida Bureau of Unclaimed Propert,” Mr. Huff further wrote.

Holders of these dormant accounts will be receiving letters from FDOT, but state officials acknowledge some users may not be easily reached. Some people “may have simply moved to a different area and never … closed their account,” Mr. Huff stated.

Those who can be reached and wish to close their old Sunpass account will get a refund of any balance that remains on the books. Anyone who wishes to update their account may also do so.

Anyone who believes they may be due a refund may contact the FDOT on email to request assistance updating or closing their old Sunpass accounts. That email is [email protected]

Turnpike Exit To I-4 In Orlando Closed Overnight To May 23

Ramp Closures To Impact Drivers Through The Week

An ongoing project to revamp the interchange of Florida’s Turnpike and Interstate 4 will result in renewed offramp closures for drivers trying to get to I-4 from Florida’s Turnpike, according to a news release from the Florida Department of Transportation. The roadway closures are similar to those instituted from April 27 through May 2.

Only drivers trying to exit the turnpike at I-4 are affected, as are truckers who wish to use the tandem parking lot that is in the middle of the interchange. The ramp closures do not affect drivers who want to get onto the Turnpike.

The ramps from Exit 259 in Orlando are closed only during the overnight hours, and the closures affect both northbound and southbound travelers exiting Florida’s Turnpike, according to the latest FDOT release. Christina Deason, spokesman for the FDOT, said, “All exiting traffic [will be] detoured to Exit 255, Consulate Drive, for SunPass customers or Exit 254, Orlando South/US 17 92/441, for cash customers.” Cash customers will be detoured along the westbound leg of the Beachline Expressway, State Road 528, in order to reach I-4, she said.

Truckers Tandem Access Affected

Construction closures and detours for I-4 and Florida's Turnpike
The trucker lot that was affected in April will be impacted once more. Click to get full list of detours in a PDF.

Truckers will be affected by the closure of the tandem lot on the nights of May 20 and 21. Deason said the lot will remain open until 1 a.m.; then it will close until 5 a.m. “During active ramp closures, tandems will not be able to exit the Turnpike to access the lot,” Deason said in the news release. “No left-in [or] left-out, to and from the staging area will be possible.”

Single trailers will be permitted on the lot during the closure hours, Deason said, but the access to the turnpike from the lot will be intermittently impacted between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Images of the detours were provided by the FDOT and may be viewed in portable document format.

Exits From Florida's Turnpike To Temporarily Close For Construction

I-4 Interchange In Orlando Gets Major Makeover

Drivers Get Big Detour And Truckers Lose Parking Lot

Overnight travel in Orlando will become a little inconvenient at the end of April as construction crews make changes to the interchange of Interstate 4 and the Florida’s Turnpike, according to Florida’s Department of Transportation. FDOT released a satellite map today showing the areas of detour, further announcing that some ramps from the turnpike to I-4 would be closed overnight April 27 through May 2. Additionally, truckers will have to abandon the tandem parking lot during the early morning hours on April 27 and 28 while new roadways signs are installed at the interchange.

“The Exit 259 ramps from the turnpike, both north- and southbound, will be closed,” wrote Christina Deason of the FDOT. “All exiting traffic [will be ] detoured to Exit 255 (Consulate Drive), for SunPass customers, or Exit 254 (US 17-92/441) for cash customers to reach I-4 via the westbound Beachline Expressway (SR 528).”

Deason noted that drivers on I-4 will still be able to get onto the turnpike. However, drivers traveling westbound on I-4 who want to get onto Florida’s Turnpike could experience delays from I-4’s Exit 77, she said. 

Truckers Losing Tandem Trailer Lot For Two Nights

Construction closures and detours for I-4 and Florida's TurnpikeTruckers and haulers who normally can take advantage of the tandem trailer parking lot, which is adjacent to the turnpike ramps, will not be able to park overnight on April 27 and 28 because of the installation of new sign trusses. However, FDOT stated the overnight closures will only be effective between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., and single trailers will still be able to access the lot from Interstate 4.

Florida DOT Warns Of Possible Toll Scam

Collection Notices From Unknown “Toll Enforcement” Company Raise Red Flags, Prompt Warning To Drivers

A possible toll collection scam in Florida has prompted the state’s transportation department to issue a warning to drivers.

Drivers on Florida’s Turnpike and other state and county toll roads are being warned today of a potentially fraudulent collection effort on the part of a company called Toll Enforcement, LLC, which may be attempting to dupe drivers into sending payments. A news release detailing the scheme was sent to news media in Florida Tuesday afternoon, and it was accompanied by pictures of real toll violation notices. However, state officials stopped short of calling the  collection an outright toll scam.

“We’re calling it an alleged fraud collection practice until we have proof that it’s otherwise,” said Chad Huff, spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation. Mr. Huff made is comments during an interview with TurnpikeInfo.com. “It’s better to say it’s a company that’s operating that we’re not familiar with.”

However, FDOT is requesting anyone who receives a notice from Toll Enforcement, LLC to immediately contact the Sunpass operations center by calling 888-865-5352. State officials say they will send any evidence they receive to law enforcement.

“We work closely with Florida Highway Patrol, and Miami-Dade Police Department seems to have taken quite an interest in it,” Mr. Huff said. Miami-Dade’s interest may be due, in part, with the fact another company was reportedly targeting drivers in South Florida just last year.

That company was called Law Enforcement Systems, LLC, and it was sending similar notices, according to a series of forum posts on City-Data.com.

Real Toll Collection Notices Contain Key Information About Driver And Their Car

Sample of a real toll collection notice
Example of a real toll collection notice. Key information, including the date, time and location of the toll violation, will be shown. Crucially, the driver’s car will be pictured, as well.

Mr. Huff said anyone who receives a legitimate toll violation notice will notice a number of key data points, including a picture of the owner’s car and license plate, something he said is missing on the notices from Toll Enforcement, LLC. “They always say the devil is in the details. Our documents always have a large amount of detail,” he said.

“Any document that is sent by FDOT, that is attempting to collect an unpaid toll, will clearly be marked with FDOT logos,” Mr. Huff added. “Probably more important than anything, it will contain an exact date, time [and] location of the infraction.”

Examples of the real FDOT toll violations notices are shown on this post, which clearly spell out the data Mr. Huff has mentioned.

Huff pointed out another element that is indicative of the alleged fake collection notices is that they do not accept credit cards or personal checks. “Our toll collections, at least after the fact, make it very easy to pay using a credit card or a check,” Mr. Huff said.

Examples Of Real Toll Violation Notices

Front of a real toll violation notice.
Front side of a real toll violation notice sent by the Florida Department of Transportation.

reverse side of a real toll violation notice in Florida
Reverse side of a real toll violation notice sent by the State of Florida. Note the contact information at the bottom, which is missing from the alleged fake toll violation notices.

Sample of a real toll collection notice
Real toll collection notices in Florida will contain the date, time and location of the toll violation. Moreover, a picture of  the driver’s car will be shown.

reverse of another type of legitimate toll collection notice
Real toll violation notices include information about the Florida Department of Transportation. The alleged fake notices do not. The real notices also include contact information for the Sunpass Customer Service Center in Boca Raton, Florida.

Major Turnpike Construction Projects Greet Florida’s Seasonal Visitors

Orlando and Fort Lauderdale Interchanges Undergoing Major Overhauls As Tourist Season Welcomes First Travelers

This year’s increase in seasonal tourism traffic may be accompanied by an increase in driver frustration as a pair of major road reconstruction projects impact upon turnpike interchanges in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. The Florida Department of Transportation has been overhauling the I-595 corridor through Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Plantation and Sunrise since approximately November 2010. The project includes a complete reworking of the interchange with Florida’s Turnpike, with the bulk of construction work scheduled to be completed by March 2014, although work is currently ahead of schedule, according to a project construction chart.

Meanwhile, lane additions and other construction has just begun in Orlando, where Florida’s Turnpike meets with I-4, just south of the East-West Expressway. The $10.2-million project at the Turnpike I-4 interchange began September 12, and it will not be completed until the fall of 2014, although a more specific date has not been provided.

Drivers making their way through Orlando or traveling there as a destination will find exit and entrance ramps to I-4 being widened and realigned to handle more capacity. The construction effort also seeks to help increase capacity for truckers who make use of the interchange to access the Turkey Lake Service Plaza.

“The realignment of the southbound exit ramp improves traffic flow on the connector road to the Tandem Truck Stagin Lot located behind the northbound toll plaza building,” a DOT news release read. “The project includes an additional heavy truck turnaround at the south end of the Turkey Lake Service Plaza and new signage.”

I-595 construction near Florida's Turnpike
Construction of the Florida’s Turnpike I-595 Interchange in the Fort Lauderdale-Davie area is within months of completion. Additional constructions delays may affect seasonal travelers, nonetheless.

While the spate of lane closures and roadway detours is just beginning for Orlando, they are nearly completed for Fort Lauderdale’s Turnpike I-595 interchange. Overnight lane closures on the Turnpike, between I-595 and Sunrise Boulevard, were expected to be completed by the end of the week, this week. Ramp closures from State Road 84 and I-595 to the Turnpike were also expected to persist for a few more overnight hours, wrapping by September 27, according to a special website set up by Florida DOT to provide construction updates.

Meanwhile, toll lanes continue to be closed on an intermittent basis in Miami-Dade County, where the all-electronic tolling booths are being built to replace the once-staffed toll collection booths. The closure of lanes chokes the traffic flow into the Golden Glades Interchange, which connects the Florida’s Turnpike with I-95 and the Palmetto Expressway (SR 826). The interchange also allows drivers to exit to U.S. 441 and NE 167th Street in North Miami Beach.

The toll lane closures are expected to end by January 2014, around the start of peak seasonal tourism in Florida, but the short term outlook is one of slow traffic going into the Golden Glades. Only four toll lanes are currently open for northbound traffic leaving Miami, and five lanes are currently opened for southbound traffic making its way from Broward County into Miami-Dade.

The widening of the Turnpike Extension in Miami-Dade County is also now underway, having broken ground in August 2013. The southern stretch of the Homestead Extension of the Turnpike will be widened to a minimum of six travel lanes in some areas, and as many as 10 travel lanes in other segments. The construction will affect the areas through Goulds and Cutler Ridge, from around SW 216th Street, north to Eureka Drive, which is also SW 184th Street.

The project, which is expected to cost about $41-million, will take about three years to complete.

Florida and North Carolina Tag Team on SunPass and Quick Pass

Sunpass MiniFlorida’s Turnpike will now accept the North Carolina Quick Pass for payment on Florida’s Turnpike, it was announced today. Conversely, Florida’s SunPass can now be used to pay tolls on the Triangle Expressway in the North Carolina Research Triangle Park region. The announcement was made by both states’ Departments of Transportation in what had been an expected union of the two electronic tolling systems.

One of the frequent questions visitors to TurnpikeInfo.com have is why E-ZPass and other state electronic toll devices do not work in Florida. Dianne Gutierrez-Scaccetti, the exective director of Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, wrote in a news release, “Interoperability between SunPass and electronic toll systems in other states is something we’ve bee diligently working toward for some time.”

The North Carolina tolling system participates in the broader E-ZPass electronic toll system, which covers states across the entire middle and upper Atlantic regions, New England, and the Midwest. Until now, Florida had never participated in any interstate electronic tolling system.

Connecting with North Carolina is a likely first step in Florida becoming part of the larger E-ZPass network at a time when the state is making significant technology upgrades to its toll roads and toll collection systems. Florida’s Turnpike Extension, located in Miami-Dade County, became the first leg of the turnpike system, in the Sunshine State, to become an all-electronic tolling system.  However, no timetable has yet been posted detailing when SunPass might be accepted in other states or when E-ZPass, particularly from states like New York and New Jersey, might be accepted in Florida.

Construction Slows Traffic Along Florida’s Turnpike in South Florida

A series of construction projects, minor to major, continue to impact traffic flow along Florida’s Turnpike in South Florida, with lane closures in Palm Beach County to an interchange reconstruction project in Broward County, where the turnpike meets I-595. For the Palm Beach County project, a bridge replacement is underway at the Jupiter-Indiantown exit, at mile marker 116, where one lane of traffic in each direction will be closed through this Thursday, April 11. The lane closures will affect traffic during overnight hours, from 10 PM to 5 AM. Further south, one lane of traffic in each direction will be closed between mile markers 102 and 104 for roadway resurfacing.

I-595 - Florida's Turnpike Construction
Major interchange improvements in Broward County are causing numerous delays for drivers on Florida’s Turnpike.

In Broward County, a major widening project of the I-595 corridor, from Fort Lauderdale west to Plantation and Sunrise, continues to impact traffic between mile markers 53 and 55, affecting traffic traveling south the Sunrise Boulevard exit until well past the Griffin Road exit. Florida’s Department of Transportation and county construction crews have been widening I-595, and the widening project includes a major redesign of the interchange with Florida’s Turnpike, which is also adjacent to the US 441 Interchange and the University Drive exits, all which fall within the space of one-and-a-half miles of each other.

Part of the construction on the I-595 interchange includes adding new lanes on the Florida’s Turnpike, itself, where construction has been ongoing since 2010. In addition to the new lanes of traffic in the northbound and southbound directions on the turnpike, there will also be new toll plaza lanes added to accommodate traffic directly connecting to the turnpike from I-595.

Florida’s DOT has issued a series of lane closure statements for the I-595 and Turnpike interchange, which includes the following current updates:

  • One lane of westbound I-595 between the Florida’s Turnpike overpass and Davie Road will be closed nightly from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and two lanes will be closed nightly from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Wednesday, April 10 and ending Friday, April 12.
  • One lane of the ramp from I-595 to southbound Florida’s Turnpike will be closed from 6 a.m. Saturday, April 6 to 1 p.m. Sunday, April 7 and nightly from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Monday, April 8 and ending Friday, April 12.
  • One lane of the ramp from Florida’s Turnpike to I-595 / SR 84 / SR 7 will be closed nightly from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Sunday, April 7 and ending Tuesday, April 9.
  • One lane of the ramp from southbound Florida’s Turnpike to I-595 / SR 84/ SR 7 will be closed nightly from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Monday, April 8 and ending Friday, April 12.
  • One lane of southbound Florida’s Turnpike between Sunrise Boulevard and I-595 interchange will be closed nightly from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and two lanes will be closed nightly from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Sunday, April 7 and ending Tuesday, April 9.
  • One lane of Florida’s Turnpike, in each direction, at the I-595 interchange will be closed nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., and two lanes of southbound Florida’s Turnpike will be closed nightly from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Monday, April 8 and ending Friday, April 12.
  • Two lanes of Florida’s Turnpike, in each direction, between Griffin Road and Sterling Road will be closed nightly from 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. beginning Monday, April 8 and ending Friday, April 12.
  • One lane of the ramp from northbound Florida’s Turnpike to I-595 / SR 84/ SR 7 will be closed nightly from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Monday, April 8 and ending Friday, April 12.

Sawgrass Expressway Northbound Closes Overnight This Week

Sawgrass Expy Sign
The Sawgrass Expressway in Broward County, Florida, will be the site of overnight lane closures this week.

All northbound lanes of the Sawgrass Expressway, a toll road in Broward County, Florida, will be closing between the I-75 interchange and Sunrise Boulevard, near the BB&T Center. The lane closures will affect only the northbound traffic, and those closures will only be during the overnight hours, between 11:45 PM and 4 AM. The lane closures will be in effect through Thursday, April 11.

The Florida Department of Transportation and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise are installing new sign support systems on those lanes, and that will require all traffic to be diverted to 136th Avenue. Traffic exiting from I-595 westbound or I-75 southbound and going north on the Sawgrass Expy. will be directed north to Sunrise Boulevard, using 136th. From Sunrise Boulevard, travelers will then be able to return to the Sawgrass Expressway and continue north to the towns of Tamarac, Coral Springs and Pompano Beach, at the north/east end of the Sawgrass Expressway, which connects with Florida’s Turnpike mainline.

Canoe Creek and Turkey Lake Service Plaza Construction

Canoe Creek Service Plaza
Older Google image of the Canoe Creek Service Plaza, as seen on TurnpikeInfo.com from 2009 through 2011.

Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise continues with a multi-year construction project to renovate all service plazas across the turnpike, with the Canoe Creek Service Plaza becoming the latest addition to the list of plazas undergoing renovations. The Canoe Creek travel plaza is located at mile marker 229, just south of the Disney-Area exits in Osceola County. At this time, the gas station remains open, with some food in the convenience store. The only other food available at this time is from the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant. The food court is undergoing a complete renovation that will not be completed for several months.

Further north, in the heart of the Orlando Metro Area, the Turkey Lake Service Plaza construction continues unabated, with final work on the new food court underway. However, some limited food service is available. Nathan’s Hot Dogs recently reopened, and there is a new convenience store and gas station operating at the travel plaza, located at mile marker 263, between the I-4 and East-West Expressway exits.

The upgrade to Florida Turnpike service plazas will cost about $162-million. It is expected traffic through the service plazas will be largely unaffected by the construction work. A clerk at the Canoe Creek Service Plaza told TurnpikeInfo.com Wednesday night, January 30, the traffic going through the plaza was moving, “pretty good,” and that no construction vehicles were blocking any access.

Florida’s Turnpike: 45th Street Construction

Road Construction News

Drivers will be affected by a milling and resurfacing project on Florida’s Turnpike, which got underway January 3, 2013 in Palm Beach County.  The project is expected to take approximately six months to complete and will affect everyone driving both northbound and southbound on the turnpike.

The resurfacing project is happening north of the Okeechobee Boulevard exit, and will impact drivers between mile marker 102 and 104. Florida’s Department of Transportation has notified news media the project will result in lane closures during night hours, usually between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., Sundays through Thursdays, for the duration of the project.

The project will involve resurfacing, guard-rail replacement, erosion control development, desilting of drainage pipes and bridge deck repairs.