Truesee's Daily Wonder

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Friday, January 2, 2009

 

Florida Expressway Tied Up into a "ShoeWay"

 Thousands of shoes were littered Friday on the southbound lanes of the Palmetto Expressway near Miller Drive.
Thousands of shoes were littered Friday on the southbound lanes of the Palmetto Expressway near Miller Drive.
Fri, Jan. 02, 2009
Miami Herald 
BY JOSE PAGLIERY

Work boots, slippers, sneakers and sandals -- thousands of them -- were littered Friday morning across both lanes of the Palmetto Expressway near Miller Drive.

The thousands of shoes caused long traffic delays and a two-hour clean-up, state officials said.

According to Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Pat Santangelo, thousands of pairs of used shoes mysteriously appeared at 7:42 a.m. on the southbound lanes of the Palmetto Expressway between the Bird Road and Miller Drive exits.

Employees of the Florida Department of Transportation's Road Rangers service, which is meant to provide roadside assistance, managed to use large brooms and push all the shoes into one lane.

A private contractor was hired to use a front-end loader to pick up the shoes by the dozen and load them into a large dump truck, Santangelo said.

''At this point, no one's claimed the shoes,'' Santangelo said.

Santangelo spent Friday morning driving through Little Haiti, searching for a charitable organization that would want to donate the used shoes to impoverished Haitian residents who are still suffering from the aftermath of the 2008 hurricane season.

If the shoes are claimed, Santangelo explained, the person responsible for the thousand-shoe mess will be charged for the clean up.

Santangelo said he could not estimate the cost.

''It's not cheap,'' he said.

By 9 a.m., traffic on the highway was backed up about a mile. Road Rangers were almost done cleaning out the last lane by 9:30 a.m.

Should the shoes remain unclaimed, charities may be given the shoes to send to Haiti. Any charity interested in transporting or distributing the shoes to Haitian residents may call the Florida Highway Patrol at 305-470-2500 before 12 p.m.


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