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Sawgrass Expressway

Routing

Florida 869 is the Sawgrass Expressway, a toll, six-lane, 23-mile freeway corridor that acts as a bypass of urban Broward County. Beginning at Interstate 75 and Interstate 595 west of Fort Lauderdale, Florida 869 travels north past Plantation, Sunrise, and Tamarac. At Coral Springs, Florida 869 turns east toward Parkland, Coconut Creek, and Deerfield Beach. The freeway ends at Exit 17, Junction Florida's Turnpike, but the state road continues east as a surface street (divided highway) to Interstate 95 and U.S. 1.

The toll road features the following exits:

  • Exit 0 - Junction Interstate 75 south to Miami, Interstate 75 north (west) to Naples, and Interstate 595 east to Fort Lauderdale
  • Exit 1 - Junction Broward County Route 838, Sunrise Boulevard
  • Exit 2 - Junction Florida 816, Oakland Park Boulevard
  • Exit 3 - Junction Florida 870, Commercial Boulevard
  • Exit 6 - Junction Florida 814, Atlantic Boulevard
  • Exit 8 - Junction Florida 834, Sample Road
  • Exit 10 - Coral Ridge Drive
  • Exit 12 - Junction Florida 817, University Drive
  • Exit 15 - Junction U.S. 441/Florida 7
  • Exit 16 - Lyons Road
  • Exit 17 - Junction Florida's Turnpike (Florida 91)

Between Exits 0 and 10, the freeway serves as the western edge of development in Broward County. The swampland west of Florida 869 is protected, and it will not be developed due its status.

History

Originally, Florida 869 (Sawgrass Expressway) was proposed as the University-Deerfield Expressway in 1969. After realigning the route to the west so it would conform with the planned Interstate 75 (Alligator Alley) and the Interstate 595 (Port Everglades Expressway) corridors in 1977, the route was instead constructed as the Sawgrass Expressway. The freeway was built in 16 months, between a groundbreaking on November 2, 1984 and the freeway opening to traffic on July 3, 1986.

Florida 869 grew in popularity, especially as the area bounded by the freeway developed with new homes, shopping centers, and other amenities. Its toll of $1.50 was initially seen as expensive (when compared to tolls that were only a quarter on some toll facilities in Miami-Dade County), but its utility as an alternate route quickly brought the traffic. Serving as the bypass around the Fort Lauderdale area, Florida 869 today carries a respectable amount of traffic.

Future Aspirations

The only missing link in Florida 869 is the connection to Interstate 95. In the early 1990s, an attempt was made to make the connection to Interstate 95. That effort was derailed by the Century Village retirement community, but the connection is occasionally discussed by county planners.

Many thanks to Justin Cozart and Jason Learned for the background information about Florida 869. See South Florida Roads (by Jason Learned) for more information. This information was originally posted on TropicalTurnpikes.com and is reproduced with permission by Justin Cozart.

Northbound Florida 869
The first exit along northbound Florida 869 is a free exit to Florida 838, Sunrise Boulevard. The designation of Florida 838 is interesting, considering that early plans for the Alligator Alley considered Florida 838 as the number for that road rather than Florida 84. Photo taken 12/28/03.
Like the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike, Florida 869 (Sawgrass Expressway) is part of Florida's Turnpike Enterprise System. Most of the toll roads in Miami-Dade County are managed by the Miami Dade Expressway Authority, with the exception of the turnpike. All of the toll roads in Broward County are managed by Florida's Turnpike Enterprise. Photo taken 12/28/03.
On the day this photo was taken, the left lane was closed along northbound Florida 869 as the highway approaches Exit 2, Junction Florida 816/Oakland Park Boulevard. Photo taken 12/28/03.
The next three exits along northbound are Exit 6, Junction Florida 814, Atlantic Boulevard; Exit 8, Junction Florida 834, Sample Road; and Exit 10, Coral Ridge Drive. Photo taken 12/28/03.
Further north, Florida 869 approaches Exit 6, Junction Florida 814, Atlantic Boulevard. Photo taken 12/28/03.
Northbound Florida 869/Sawgrass Expressway reaches Exit 6, Junction Florida 814, Atlantic Boulevard east to Margate and Pompano Beach. Photo taken 12/28/03.
Several of the Toll Florida 869 are white on green shields, with the TOLL banner and Florida state outline incorporated into the design. Photo taken 12/28/03.

Northbound Florida 869/Sawgrass Expressway reaches Exit 8, Junction Florida 834, Sample Road east to Coral Springs. Photo taken 12/28/03.
The next three exits along Florida 869 northbound are Exit 10, Coral Ridge Drive; Exit 12, Junction Florida 817/University Drive; and Exit 15, Junction U.S. 441/Florida 7. Florida 869 turns from northbound to eastbound just prior to the Coral Ridge Drive interchange. Photo taken 12/28/03.
The next three exits along Florida 869 northbound are Exit 12, Junction Florida 817/University Drive; Exit 15, Junction U.S. 441/Florida 7; and Exit 16, Lyons Road. Photo taken 12/28/03.
Florida 817 follows University Drive south through Coral Springs, Margate, Tamarac, Lauderhill, Plantation, Davie, Cooper City, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, and Miami Gardens before ending at Florida 9/Unity Boulevard. Photo taken 12/28/03.
Eastbound Florida 869 approaches Exit 12, Junction Florida 817/University Drive. Photo taken 12/28/03.
Eastbound Florida 869 reaches Exit 12, Junction Florida 817/University Drive. Photo taken 12/28/03.
Southbound Florida 869
Southbound Florida 869 near Florida 834. Note the three-mile cushions between exits; the next two exits after Florida 834 are Florida 814 and Florida 870. Photo taken 12/99.
Florida 869 turns from west to southbound around the Coral Ridge Drive exit (Exit 10). This image shows westbound Florida 869 at U.S. 441 with upcoming exits listed. We apologize for the poor quality of this photo (due to the sun's glare). The U.S. 441 shield on the overhead sign has the square, black background on it, similar to New Jersey's U.S. route markers on overhead signs. Photo taken 12/99.
Westbound Florida 869 between Interstate 95 and Florida's Turnpike. This photo shows existing Florida 869 and the right-of-way already acquired between Interstate 95 and the turnpike. We are not sure if there are still plans to widen Florida 869 into a freeway here, but some of the right-of-way has been used up by new power lines. The power poles to the left are new, and there weren't any wires connecting them at the time this picture was taken. Photo taken 12/99.
Southbound Florida 869 to Interstate 75 Key West. I love this sign because it advertises Interstate 75 with a control of Key West. Of course we know it doesn't go that far south, but wouldn't it be cool if it did? Another note is that this is pretty much how the Sawgrass Expressway looks between Florida's Turnpike and the Interstate 75/595 interchange. The power lines to the right meet one of the main long-distance transmission lines at a massive substation a few miles north of Interstate 75. It seems like the power lines and freeway were constructed around the same time, since this area was undeveloped prior to the construction of this toll road. Photo taken 12/99.
Southbound State Route 869 at Junction Interstates 75 and 595. Yes, the shields on the overhead signs really are that faded (and the sun glare makes it look worse). Photo taken 12/99.
Other Florida 869 Images
Florida 869 Toll Trailblazer. This shield is located along westbound Florida 869 between Interstate 95 and Florida's Turnpike. Photo taken 12/99.

Page Updated March 23, 2005.