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Parkway to put zip in Pass
By CHUIN-WEI YAP, Times Staff Writer
Published November 20, 2007
A pair of projects worth $28-million are under way on the Suncoast Parkway: One will create SunPass-only lanes on exit and entrance ramps, while the other adds 107 electronic eyes on the toll highway.
For drivers who have recently dealt with backups on the parkway at the State Road 54 exit, the $1.3-million SunPass project is the culprit.
The yearlong project will add SunPass-only lanes on each ramp along the whole length of the Veterans Expressway and Suncoast Parkway through Hernando, Pasco and Hillsborough counties. Each plaza will take seven weeks of round-the-clock work, said Joanne Hurley, a spokeswoman for the Turnpike Enterprise.
At each plaza, the toll authority is taking down one of the ramp's two lanes, so they can rebuild it just for SunPass holders. Cash users must have exact change and use only one lane. The toll attendants won't be around on the ramp anymore as work is finished.
The other Turnpike Enterprise project, the $27-million intelligent transportation system, will add 107 cameras, 13 message boards, fiber-optic cables and speed sensors in Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Polk counties. The cameras will watch traffic flow and look for congestion or accidents. Signs report potential jams, detours and travel times.