Q: Red light cameras at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Northeast 62nd Street in Fort Lauderdale occasionally flash when there is no one running a red light. My guess is many innocent drivers are receiving citations due to the cameras not working property.
Linda Mastriana, Fort Lauderdale
A: The cameras periodically undergo diagnostic testing and when that happens, you might see the flash go off, said Kate Coulson, a spokeswoman for American Traffic Solutions, the Arizona-based vendor that provides cameras in Fort Lauderdale and about 70 other municipalities in Florida.
"That does not indicate that a violation, or potential violation is captured," Coulson said. "All potential violations or incidents are reviewed and issued by the local police department to determine if an actual violation has happened."
Q: Westbound Interstate 595 is a tremendous bottleneck between I-95 and the exit to Florida's Turnpike and State Road 7, as drivers exiting jockey with drivers who want to stay on the interstate. Some interchanges on I-595 are getting new ramps that carry traffic entering the highway under exiting traffic. Are there any plans to address this stretch of I-595 with the current construction?
James Wyman, Pembroke Pines
A: The bridges that carry I-595 over wetlands between I-95 and S.R. 7 will be striped to handle five lanes of traffic in each direction. But lanes may be reduced or closed now due to construction, which starts just east of S.R. 7.
Several years ago, the westbound I-595 bridge was re-striped to add a fifth lane by reducing the shoulders. The on-ramp from southbound I-95 also was re-striped with two lanes to ease merging.
The I-595 bridges over the wetlands known as Pond Apple Slough were not included in the $1.2 billion reconstruction of I-595 mainly due to costs and environmental issues.
Q: It seems as though there have been more instances in the past 12 months when accidents have closed major roads like Interstate 95. Has the Florida Highway Patrol changed the way they handle accident scenes or is there just too much traffic on our roads?
Greg Tabor, Boca Raton
A: The number of incidents on roads like I-95 and Florida's Turnpike has jumped while response times and the time it takes to reopen lanes has remained constant, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
From October to December 2012, there were 1,015 incidents – crashes, road debris, abandoned vehicles among them - in the DOT's five-county District 4 including Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties. That's up from 624 incidents in the same three months in 2011 and 587 in 2010.
Lanes were reopened on average in 38 minutes in the last quarter of 2012 compared to 33.5 minutes in 2011 and 36 minutes in 2011.
Last year, for the first time since 2005 and 2006, the number of people dying in traffic crashes went up in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The reasons could be an improving economy or just more distracted drivers.
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