HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A South Florida mayor is taking on the Florida Department of Transportation.
Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober said the new express lanes that go through his city have turned Interstate 95 into a nightmare for residents and commuters.
"It has definitely made living in the city of Hollywood a miserable experience," Bober said. "You have to sit in traffic every day where you didn't have to do that before."
Bober recently fired off a letter to the FDOT.
The mayor said the situation has caused traffic jams, unsafe conditions and confusion.
Bober said his residents can't even get into the express lanes when they get on the interstate.
"I have asked the city attorney to look at all of our options, including litigation options," Bober said.
About 9 miles of the newly constructed express lanes go right through Hollywood north and southbound.
The city said its fire department has been called to 87 more incidents on I-95 since the express lanes were added.
"Hollywood Fire Department is out on I-95 a little bit too frequently, and it is costing the residents of Hollywood money because they fund those services," the mayor added.
Hollywood resident Mandee Adler is considering moving out of the city.
"It has really negatively impacted our lives to the point that we are actually considering moving," she said.
Adler said her 25-minute commute up I-95 to get her kids to school has turned into a drive that now takes over an hour each way.
Bober said a sudden merge, northbound at Griffin Road, is part of the problem.
One of the fast lanes suddenly disappears, forcing high speed traffic in the left lane to merge to the right.
Bober said the situation causes a bottle neck that backs traffic up into his city.
"We've heard complaints," FDOT District 4 secretary Gerry O'Reilly said.
The FDOT admits there is confusion with the northbound lane drop.
O'Reilly said the lane that vanishes will eventually be extended all the way up to Palm Beach County during the next phase of construction.
But Bober said that will take years.
"This is an issue that we need to stay on top of and let the state know that this is not something that we just intend to forget about with time," he said.
According to a news release, construction of the next phase is underway.
Construction on I-95 from Griffin Road to Southwest 10th Street will last until 2020.