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According to BEAUTYPHOON, State Route 821 or State Road 821 (SR-821), called the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike (HEFT), is a state route and toll road in the U.S. state of Florida. The highway forms the western bypass of Miami and is 77 kilometers long.
The Homestead Extension near the Dolphin Expressway (SR-836).
State Road 821 begins at Florida City on US 1. Florida City is the southernmost city of the Miami metropolitan area and US 1 enters here from the Florida Keys via the Overseas Highway. The toll road has 2×3 lanes and leads past a number of southern Miami suburbs, such as Homestead, Leisure City, Princeton and Goulds. This leads to a larger urbanized area. From Homestead, the toll road also has separate express lanes, initially with 2×3 lanes, expanding north to 2×5 lanes, with the left lane being an express lane. There is even a 2×6 lane stretch from South Miami Heights, which is one of the widest toll roads in the United States.
Near Kendall, State Road 874 (Don Shula Expressway) branches off into Miami itself, while the Homestead Extension continues to form a western bypass. The highway then has 2×5 lanes, with 2 express lanes in each direction. The Sweetwater suburb first crosses US 41, then follows an interchange with State Road 836 (Dolphin Expressway), which leads east to the airport and downtown Miami.
State Road 821 then runs along the edge of Miami’s western suburbs, dividing the urban area from the Everglades. The toll road has 2×5 lanes here. Near Miami Lakes, one first crosses US 27, followed by a junction with Interstate 75. After I-75, the highway has 2×4 lanes and curves east. Near the large suburb of Miami Gardens, the highway terminates on the main route of Florida’s Turnpike, from which one can travel south to Miami or north to Orlando.
In the 1950s, State Road 826 (Palmetto Expressway) was developed as Miami’s first bypass. In 1964, Florida’s Turnpike between Miami and Orlando was completed and plans were soon made for further extension of the toll road around Miami, as Interstate 95 would run no further south than Downtown Miami. A large-scale western bypass around the then fast-growing area west and southwest of Miami was chosen.
Construction on the Homestead Extension began in July 1971, and the northernmost 13-mile stretch between US 27 and Florida’s Turnpike interchange was opened on May 1, 1973. Most of the remainder of the toll road was opened in five phases in early 1974 for 32 miles between Campbell Drive and US 27, which was completed on May 20, 1974. Later in 1974, the southernmost 3 miles to US 1 was opened in Florida City.
|US 27||Florida’s Turnpike||21 km||01-05-1973|
|Campbell Drive||US 27||52 km||20-05-1974|
|US 1||Campbell Drive||5 km||00-00-1974|
Originally, the Homestead Extension had 2×2 lanes. Before 1995, some middle sections were already widened, there were 2×3 lanes between US 1 in Cutler Bay and the Dolphin Expressway (SR-836) at Sweetwater over a length of approximately 22 kilometers. Around 2000, a 6-kilometer section between South Miami Heights and the interchange with the Don Shula Expressway (SR-874) was widened to 2×4 lanes.
As of 2014, the Homestead Extension has been widened on a large scale. Express lanes with variable toll rates have been constructed on part of the route. In the period up to 2025, almost the entire toll road was eventually widened to 2×3 to 2×6 lanes at a cost of more than $1 billion and was completed in several phases.
Between 2014 and 2019, express lanes were built on a 10-kilometer stretch of the Homestead Extension in the south of the Miami metropolitan area. These run from SW 216th Street in South Miami Heights to the Don Shula Expressway. The toll road here originally had 2×3 to 2×5 lanes and was given one express lane in both directions. The construction was carried out in phases and started in August 2013. The project was originally supposed to be ready in 2017, but it has been delayed by about two years and was completed in 2019.
Thereafter, an extension of this system further north to the Dolphin Expressway in Tamiami is planned. This part of the toll road has largely 2×3 lanes and will have two express lanes with a variable toll charge in each direction. Construction started in July 2015 and was completed in 2021. Subsequently, the highway between the Dolphin Expressway and NW 106th Street was widened. This was ready by mid-2024. Subsequently, the highway between NW 106th Street and I-75 was widened. This was ready by mid-2025. The northernmost portion in Broward County between I-75 and Florida’s Turnpike has been widened from 2×2 to 2×4 lanes and was completed in 2022.
Snapper Creek Service Plaza
At Kendall there is a large service area in the central reservation of the toll road, the Snapper Creek Service Plaza. This can be reached in both directions via a left exit. Although this is a large service area in size, it only has a relatively small gas station with a convenience store. There is a branch of the Florida Highway Patrol, as well as an office of Florida’s Turnpike.
The Homestead Extension is a toll road, part of Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise. Since February 19, 2011, the Homestead Extension has been using electronic toll collection with SunPass, other accepted transponders or toll-by-plate. Cash or credit card payments are no longer possible since then. The toll system has four toll points for the main carriageway and on numerous exits. Toll rates have been indexed periodically since 2012. The toll rates are relatively low, especially in view of the enormous capacity expansions that have taken place. In 2021, with a full-length SunPass, the toll fee was just $4.
The Homestead Extension also has express lanes, which are called “Thru Lanes” in this region. Fewer exits can be reached from the express lanes than from the main lanes. Unlike many express lanes in other parts of the United States, the Thru Lanes in Florida do not have different tolls. Vehicles in the Thru Lanes pay the same toll as vehicles in the regular lanes.
The intensities below are north of the relevant connection.