If your morning commute features a trip through central Broward on I-95 north, you may have noticed a new work of art recently, hanging from an overpass south of the Cypress Creek exit.
Florida Department of Transportation officials called it vandalism (but didn't conduct an investigation) and scheduled a cleanup for the early-morning hours of November 5.
The sign was replaced at a cost of $4,250 to taxpayers, according to an FDOT spokesperson.
Although graffiti that intricate on an I-95 sign is technically impressive enough to make a passerby ask how the artist -- or criminal -- finished it without falling like Enrique Olivera and other taggers, it also makes you wonder how common graffiti is on the Sunshine State's highways.
It turns out graffiti artists in Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, Indian River, and St. Lucie counties have been busy the past few years, according to these numbers from the Florida Highway Patrol:
FY Vandalized Area* Cost 2009 -2010 106,000 SqFt $14,923.73 2010 - 2011 99,990 SqFt $15,366.64 2011 - 2012 186,620 SqFt $33,241.60 2013 - 2014 111,023 SqFt $28,146.62 2014 - to Date 4,796 SqFt $ 6,263.47
* =The vandalized area includes the overhead signs and the sound walls along I-95 and I-595 within District 4 jurisdiction. The FDOT constantly monitors our facilities on the Interstates and cleans/removes any graffiti as soon as possible.
In the case of the Cypress Creek graffiti caper, Broward Sheriff's officers, the Florida Highway Patrol, and the FDOT couldn't say if it was a gang symbol or not. "It may be a combination of both, given that you will often see three or four distinct graffiti markings placed on the same wall in repetition," FDOT's Chuck McGinniss told New Times. "On others, the graffiti will be painted as an individual mark."
Of the 19 overhead signs tagged in our district of Florida's highways this year, 14 are still waiting for the same cleaning that the Cypress Creek sign was treated to earlier this week.