WEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – It is moving day every day in construction zones across South Florida and motorists are hitting the brakes.
There is Palmetto Expressway expansion near Miller and Bird Roads. Throw in the massive I-595 project in Broward. Then there is the more than half billion dollar project to create a modern interchange and expanded roads at the SR 826-836 intersection in West Miami-Dade. And no one can ignore the Port of Miami tunnel project. Each is a massive undertaking in its own right and all are changing the landscape-make that streetscape—of South Florida.
One bewildered visitor who had just arrived in Miami said to me as she drove around, “Just getting around here is not very straightforward. Sorry.” The Florida Department of Transportation and private contractors say they are trying to keep traffic running through construction zones, but it is a bit like heart surgery. You shut off one bad valve and try to open another artery. In this case the arteries are made of concrete, steel and asphalt. The hope is that this major traffic surgery will greatly improve the flow of traffic across our region in the years to come.
Engineers say there is no choice but to tackle the projects now. Gus Quesada is a project engineer on the SR 826/836 project. It is slated for completion in 2015, but early phases will be finished sooner and offer some traffic relief. He said, “This is the umbilical cord of the entire project so we definitely need to expand it. If not traffic will come to a standstill at one point in time.”
In car happy South Florida, where mass transit and car pooling always take a back seat, road work ahead is a way of life as workers try to pave the way for the future.