All tolls on Florida’s Turnpike free as Matthew approaches

The entrance to the Florida Turnpike at Okeechobee Boulevard Tuesday, June 30, 2015. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
The entrance to the Florida Turnpike at Okeechobee Boulevard Tuesday, June 30, 2015. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

As Floridians prepare for possible mandatory evacuation orders for Hurricane Matthew, one question may come to mind: Will you have to pay tolls on Florida’s Turnpike before, during and after the storm?

Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday that he has authorized the Florida Department of Transportation to suspend tolls in counties where there are evacuation orders issued.

COMPLETE LIST OF SHELTERS, EMERGENCY RESOURCES

Wednesday evening, Scott’s office issued an update saying this now includes the entire Florida’s Turnpike, Alligator Alley and the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority.

Tolls on Florida’s Beachline — State Road 528 — from Brevard County to Orlando already had been suspended because of a mandatory evacuation order in Brevard County earlier in the day, Scott said.

“Protecting life and moving people to safety remains our top priority and today I directed the Florida Department of Transportation to suspend tolls as needed to keep traffic flowing,” Scott said in a news release. “If there is an evacuation order in a county, all tolls will be suspended in that county.”

Storm 2016.com: Tracking map, full preparedness guide

The Florida Department of Transportation is keeping track of traffic counters in South and Central Florida as it prepares for the storm’s effects, Scott’s office said.

Here’s more from the governor’s office on the latest efforts to prepare roads for Hurricane Matthew:

• FDOT construction: All state projects on interstates, limited-access facilities, coastal and evacuation routes have been stopped. Contractors are securing equipment and removing all unnecessary barricades, signs and drums.

• Flooding: FDOT is monitoring flood-prone areas and will work with county emergency operations centers to coordinate any necessary response.

• Intracoastal bridges: In Palm Beach County, they will be locked down by 8 p.m. Wednesday. During lock-down, the bridge is closed, power turned off and the traffic arms may be removed.

More coverage of Hurricane Matthew

Dozens of flights cancelled and delayed in South Florida

The latest from The Post’s weather reporter, Kim Miller

Make sure you have your hurricane supplies

Which Palm Beach County gas stations can pump without power?

What to do at an intersection when the power goes out

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Matthew prompts Tri-Rail shutdown for Thursday, Friday

(Palm Beach Post staff file photo)
(Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

Tri-Rail will suspend its service after the final trains run tonight because of Hurricane Matthew, Tri-Rail spokesperson Bonnie Arnold said Wednesday.

The commuter rail service also will be shut down Thursday and Friday, and possibly Saturday and Sunday, Arnold said.

The decision on whether to reopen the rail line this weekend will depend on the extent of damage along the corridor and to rail crossing arms, she added.

The crossing arms themselves can take “a good 12 hours to fix,” Arnold noted.

The last southbound train tonight leaves Tri-Rail’s Mangonia Park station at 8:40 p.m. The last northbound train arrives in Mangonia Park about 11:35 p.m.

Check back for more updates.

More coverage of Hurricane Matthew:

When do I put up my hurricane shutters?

Dozens of flights cancelled and delayed in South Florida

The latest from The Post’s weather reporter, Kim Miller

Make sure you have your hurricane supplies

Which Palm Beach County gas stations can pump without power?

Hurricane Matthew: American, Allegiant cancel flights; Fort Lauderdale to suspend flights

Surf and wind from Hurricane Matthew crash on the waterfront in Baracoa, Cuba, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Surf and wind from Hurricane Matthew crash on the waterfront in Baracoa, Cuba, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

UPDATE: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will suspend flights no later than 10:30 a.m. Thursday, according to the airport’s website.

UPDATE: American and Allegiant airlines have canceled some flights as Florida braces for Hurricane Matthew.

In addition, a JetBlue spokesperson said the airline will begin rolling out cancellations for Thursday and Friday flights in some Florida cities starting Wednesday night. To see if your flight has been canceled, go to http://www.jetblue.com.

American Airlines has canceled all flights scheduled to arrive at South Florida airports Thursday, the company said Wednesday.

All American flights into Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach International Airport are canceled; in addition, American Airlines will have limited departures from those three airports until noon tomorrow, with departures after noon canceled.

COMPLETE LIST OF SHELTERS, EMERGENCY RESOURCES

The airline plans to resume reduced operations to the three airports beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, the company said, with flights should be fully operational by noon that day.

In addition to the flights canceled by American, Allegiant has canceled the following flights scheduled to arrive or depart Fort Lauderdale on Thursday:

• To Fort Lauderdale: 1204 from Asheville, N.C.; 1711 from Ogdensburg, N.Y.; 1703 from Lexington, Ky.; 1701 from Plattsburgh, N.Y.; 1721 from Syracuse, N.Y.; 1719 from Columbus/Rickenbacker, Ohio; 1217 from Knoxville, Tenn.

• From Fort Lauderdale: 1205 to Asheville, N.C.; 1710 to Ogdensburg, N.Y.; 1702 to Lexington, Ky.; 1700 to Plattsburgh, N.Y.; 1720 to Syracuse, N.Y.; 1718 to Columbus/Rickbenbacker, Ohio; 1216 to Knoxville, Tenn.

Allegiant also has canceled a slew of flights into and out of Orlando and Sanford. Click here for the full list.

American Airlines and Allegiant — along with many other carriers — has issued travel waivers for its South Florida flights affected by Hurricane Matthew. Click here for more information.

American Airlines also has canceled its flights into and out of Orlando International Airport after 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the company said. American flights will be canceled through Friday, with limited service beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, the company said.

At Jacksonville International Airport, American Airlines will have limited operations beginning Friday morning, with all American flights into and out of that airport canceled for the rest of the day and resuming Saturday.

Dozens of other flights into the area were canceled Wednesday.

Palm Beach International Airport had five delays and one cancellation as of Wednesday, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

The site also reported there were 27 delays and 47 cancellations at Miami International Airport.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reported via Twitter that it had 20 delays and 40 cancellations as of Wednesday.

For Thursday, FlightAware shows, as of Wednesday:

• 436 cancellations at Miami International Airport

• 131 cancellations at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

• 39 cancellations at Palm Beach International Airport

Before heading to the airport, check with your airline’s website to see if your flight has been canceled or delayed.

South Florida airport websites:

Palm Beach International Airport

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

Miami International Airport

Check back for more updates.

More coverage of Hurricane Matthew:

The latest from The Post’s weather reporter, Kim Miller

Make sure you have your hurricane supplies

Which Palm Beach County gas stations can pump without power?

Airlines expand travel waivers in Southeast as Hurricane Matthew approaches

American is one of several airlines offering travel waivers for some flights. (Getty Images)
American is one of several airlines offering travel waivers for some flights. (Getty Images)

UPDATED: Several airlines have issued travel waivers for airports across South and Central Florida and the Caribbean as Hurricane Matthew makes its way toward the Sunshine State.

Many flights were delayed or canceled at Palm Beach International Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Miami International Airport.

» See the latest on delays and cancellations at South Florida airports

A travel waiver typically allows passengers to change their flights with little to no penalty. The waiver offered varies depending on the airline. For information regarding a specific flight, contact your airline.

Here’s the list of travel waivers in effect. This list will be updated as more waivers are announced.

American Airlines

Waiver benefits: No change fee for eligible flights.

Florida

Where the waiver is in effect: Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Key West, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando and West Palm Beach.

You are eligible for the waiver if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight purchased before Oct. 4; you’re scheduled to travel Oct. 5-7; you can travel Oct. 5-12; and you don’t change your origin or destination.

Southeast U.S.

Where the waiver is in effect: Augusta and Savannah, Ga.; Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh/Durham, Richlands and Wilmington, N.C.; Columbia, Charleston, Florence, Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

You are eligible for the waiver if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight purchased before Oct. 4; you’re scheduled to travel Oct. 5-9; you can travel Oct. 5-14; and you don’t change your origin or destination.

Caribbean

Where the waiver is in effect: Cienfuegos, Cuba; Holguín, Cuba; Santa Clara, Cuba; Cap-Haïtien, Haiti; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Kingston, Jamaica; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.

You are eligible for the waiver if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight purchased before Oct. 1; you’re scheduled to travel Oct. 1-6; you can travel Sept. 3o – Oct. 9; and you don’t change your origin or destination.

Bahamas

Where the waiver is in effect: Eleuthera, Exuma, Freeport / Grand Bahama, Marsh Harbour and Nassau.

You are eligible for the waiver if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight purchased before Sept. 30; you’re scheduled to travel Oct. 2-7; you can travel Sept. 30-Oct. 11; and you don’t change your origin or destination.

More information from American Airlines

Delta

Waiver benefits: Receive a refund for the unused portion of your ticket, or make a one-time change to your ticket without a fee on eligible flights.

Florida

Where the waiver is in effect: Daytona, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Key West, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando and West Palm Beach.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were supposed to fly from Oct. 6-7. Your ticket must be reissued on or before Oct. 12, and your rebooked travel must begin no later than Oct. 12.

Southeast U.S.

Where the waiver is in effect: Brunswick and Savannah, Ga.; Charleston and Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Fayetteville, Jacksonville, New Bern, Raleigh and Wilmington, N.C.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were supposed to fly from Oct. 6-9. Your ticket must be reissued on or before Oct. 14, and your rebooked travel must begin no later than Oct. 14.

Caribbean

Where the waiver is in effect: Kingston, Jamaica; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Georgetown, Bahamas; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were supposed to fly from Oct. 2-6. Your ticket must be reissued on or before Oct. 9, and your rebooked travel must begin no later than Oct. 9.

More information from Delta.

Frontier

This airline has canceled many flights into and out of Orlando and St. Augustine. Click here for a complete list.

Waiver benefits: Receive one itinerary change; rules and restrictions regarding standard change fees, advance purchase, day or time applications, blackouts, and minimum or maximum stay requirements will be waived. Also, travellers on eligible flights may request a refund.

Florida

Where the waiver is in effect: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and St. Augustine.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were originally scheduled to fly Oct. 5-8 and purchased your ticket on or before Oct. 4. Travel on rescheduled flight must be completed by Oct. 29.

More information from Frontier.

JetBlue

Waiver benefits: No change/cancel fees and waived fare differences for eligible flights.

U.S.

Where the waiver is in effect: Charleston, S.C.; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Savannah/Hilton Head, Ga.; and Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando and West Palm Beach.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were supposed to fly from Oct. 5-9 and booked your flight on or before Oct. 4. You may rebook from now through Oct. 18, before your originally scheduled flight was set to depart.

Caribbean

Where the waiver is in effect: Kingston, Jamaica; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Nassau, Bahamas; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; Santa Clara, Cuba.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were supposed to fly from Oct. 2-6 and booked your flight on or before Sept. 30. You may rebook from now through Oct. 10, before your originally scheduled flight was set to depart.

More information from JetBlue.

Silver

Waiver benefits: No change fees or fare differences for eligible flights.

Florida

Where the waiver is in effect: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Key West, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were schedule to fly Oct. 3-8. You must exchange your ticket and complete your travel by Nov. 17.

Bahamas 

Where the waiver is in effect: Bimini, Freeport, Governors Harbour, Great Exuma Island, Marsh Harbour, Nassau, North Eleuthera and Treasure Cay.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were schedule to fly Oct. 3-8. You must exchange your ticket and complete your travel by Nov. 17.

More information from Silver.

Southwest

Waiver benefits: No additional charge for rebooking for eligible flights.

U.S.

Where the waiver is in effect: Charleston, S.C.; and Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando and West Palm Beach.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to fly Oct. 4-8 and rebook in the same class as originally scheduled within 14 days of the original date of travel between the same originating city and destination.

Caribbean

Where the waiver is in effect: Montego Bay and Nassau.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to fly Sept. 30-Oct. 5 for Montego Bay and Oct. 2-7 for Nassau, and rebook in the same class as originally scheduled within 14 days of the original date of travel between the same originating city and destination.

More information from Southwest.

Spirit

Waiver benefits: No modification charge/fare difference for eligible flights.

Florida

Where the waiver is in effect: Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to fly Oct. 6-7, and rebook your flight before Oct. 14. After Oct. 14, the modification charge still will be waived, but a fare difference will apply.

Southeast U.S.

Where the waiver is in effect: Myrtle Beach, S.C.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to fly Oct. 7-8, and rebook your flight before Oct. 14. After Oct. 14, the modification charge still will be waived, but a fare difference will apply.

More information from Spirit.

United

Waiver benefits: No change fees and waived fare differences for eligible flights, as long as travel is rescheduled in the same cabin and between the same cities as originally ticketed.

Florida

Where the waiver is in effect: Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and West Palm Beach.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to travel between Oct. 5-7 and your new flight must be rescheduled before Oct. 12.

Southeast U.S.

Where the waiver is in effect: Charleston, Columbia and Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro and Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Savannah, Ga.

You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to travel between Oct. 6-9 and your new flight must be rescheduled before Oct. 14.

More information from United.

Allegiant

The airline has canceled a slew of flights into and out of Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Sanford. Those flights will be rescheduled, and passengers on the affected flights will be contacted via email, Allegiant said. Check here for updates.

More coverage of Hurricane Matthew:

The latest from The Post’s weather reporter, Kim Miller

Make sure you have your hurricane supplies

Which Palm Beach County gas stations can pump without power?

List of Palm Beach County grocery and home improvement stores with generators

UPDATE: Hurricane Matthew affecting some flights out of South Florida

A plane comes in for a landing at Miami International Airport. (Getty Images)
A plane comes in for a landing at Miami International Airport. (Getty Images)

Hurricane Matthew — which as of the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. Tuesday advisory has Palm Beach County in its path — is affecting some flights into and out of South Florida.

For Wednesday, 31 flights have been cancelled at Miami’s airport, 18 have been cancelled at Fort Lauderdale and there are no cancellations at Palm Beach International Airport, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport had 45 delays and 12 cancellations Tuesday, FlightAware reports.

» RELATED: Some airlines issue travel waivers as Hurricane Matthew prompts flight cancellations

Miami International Airport had 25 delayed flights and 27 cancelled flights as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, according to FlightAware.

Most of the cancelled or delayed flights are to or from Caribbean destinations, including Haiti and Cuba.

Only three delays were reported Tuesday at Palm Beach International Airport as of 6 p.m.

To see if your flight is delayed or cancelled, visit the airport’s website or contact your airline:

Palm Beach International Airport

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

Miami International Airport

This story will be updated as more information is available.

More coverage of Hurricane Matthew:

When do I put up my hurricane shutters?

The latest from The Post’s weather reporter, Kim Miller

Make sure you have your hurricane supplies

Which Palm Beach County gas stations can pump without power?

How JetBlue made history this morning with flight to Cuba

Seth Miller, New York, is the first passenger to board a commercial flight to Cuba in over 55 years at Fort Lauderdale International Airport on August 31, 2016. JetBlue has started service to Santa Clara, Cuba. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Seth Miller, New York, is the first passenger to board a commercial flight to Cuba in over 55 years at Fort Lauderdale International Airport on August 31, 2016. JetBlue has started service to Santa Clara, Cuba. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

There were cheers and balloons as JetBlue sent off its first regularly scheduled flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Santa Clara, Cuba — the first such flight between the U.S. and the island nation in more than 50 years.

Among the guests on the flight: U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Although about half of the 150 seats on the plane were occupied by journalists, many travelers said they were making a pilgrimage-type journey to visit family, or explore their birthplace.

That was the case for Domingo Santana of Miami, who came to the United States in 1968.

Planning the trip was made even more special, he said, because he bought the first ticket for the flight.

Domingo Santana of Miami was the first passenger to buy a ticket on JetBlue's flight to Cuba Aug. 31, 2016. (Kristina Webb/ The Palm Beach Post)
Domingo Santana of Miami was the first passenger to buy a ticket on JetBlue’s flight to Cuba Aug. 31, 2016. (Kristina Webb/ The Palm Beach Post)

“It’s historic not only that it’s the first flight … but I also get to discover the country where I was born,” he said. “This is my first time going back home.”

Santana’s tip for those hoping to go to Cuba: If you have a Cuban passport, be sure to use that name when booking your flight.

Mark Gale, CEO and president of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, said he’s proud of his team and JetBlue.

The airline accounts for about a fifth of all flights at the airport.

“To have that very, very first flight come out of our airport is a great honor,” he said.

Fort Lauderdale’s airport is host to more weekly trips to Cuba than Miami — something Gale said is “a testament to the reputation of Fort Lauderdale.”

Read more here.

JetBlue to offer new service from South Florida to Aruba

A JetBlue plane. (Getty Images)
A JetBlue plane. (Getty Images)

JetBlue is launching a new flight from South Florida to Aruba.

The daily flights begin Jan. 4 and will travel nonstop between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport.

One-way tickets to Aruba start at $99. The airline already offers flights to Aruba from New York and Boston.

“Of Aruba’s total 1.22 million stay-over visitors in 2015, we welcomed a 7.7 percent increase in U.S. travelers,” Aruba Tourism Minister Otmar Oduber said in a news release. “As Aruba grows annually, JetBlue remains a valuable partner in accommodating the increased demand for travel to our One happy island — where year-round sunshine, award winning beaches and diverse culture are only the beginning of the Aruba adventure.”

According to JetBlue, the flights will leave Fort Lauderdale at 11:22 a.m., arriving in Aruba at 3:24 p.m. The return flights will depart Aruba at 4:20 p.m. and arrive in Fort Lauderdale at 6:25 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

Flights to Havana could be offered from four Florida cities

If a proposal released Thursday takes effect, you may not have to travel far to catch a flight to Havana, Cuba.

Four Florida cities are among 10 chosen as possible locations for flights to and from the Cuban capital beginning this fall.

Cubans dance the Tango in the middle of the famous Prado boulevard in Habana Vieja January 25, 2015 in Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Cubans dance the Tango in the middle of the famous Prado boulevard in Habana Vieja January 25, 2015 in Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The list of cities was released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Transportation and includes Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando and Tampa, along with Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark and New York City.

“Today we take another important step toward delivering on President Obama’s promise to reengage Cuba,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a news release. “Restoring regular air service holds tremendous potential to reunite Cuban American families and foster education and opportunities for American businesses of all sizes.”

Foxx also said eight airlines tentatively have been chosen as carriers for Havana flights: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines.

In making the decision on which U.S. cities to include in the proposal, the DOT said it looked for areas with large Cuban-American populations, along with areas that are aviation hubs.

The DOT said 12 U.S. airlines applied to offer service to Havana. The department did not release the names of the four airlines that did not make the cut.

The release of the proposed cities and carriers follows an agreement signed in February between the U.S. and Cuba to open air service between the two countries after more than 50 years. The arragement allows for each country to operate up to 20 roundtrip flights each day between Havana and the U.S.

Those traveling to Cuba must fall under one of 12 categories set by the U.S. government: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions. Read more here about what you need to travel to Cuba.

The DOT said it will release its final decision later this summer.

All Aboard’s Brightline to mark construction milestone in West Palm Beach

All Aboard Florida’s Brightline passenger rail project is preparing to mark another milestone in the construction of its West Palm Beach station.

All Aboard Florida tests LED lighting options for the outsides of their stations in Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 16, 2015. They constructed a foam replica of the V-shaped structures that will line the outside of the Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations. (Brianna Soukup/The Palm Beach Post)
All Aboard Florida tests LED lighting options for the outsides of their stations in Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 16, 2015. They constructed a foam replica of the V-shaped structures that will line the outside of the Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

On Wednesday, crews will pour the concrete for V-shaped columns that will serve both as structural pillars and architectural signature for the stations. In December, the company tested lighting options for the V columns.

On Wednesday morning, the company will put the first of the 18, 32-feet V columns in place. Each of the columns weighs about 145,000 pounds, the company said.

Brightline’s West Palm Beach station is currently under construction on Evernia Street near the South Rosemary Avenue intersection.

Brightline is scheduled to start service from Miami to West Palm Beach in 2017.