MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Governor Rick Scott made a trip to South Florida to announce some big plans that will connect you to the Port of Miami, downtown and the Performing Arts Center. The city is inching its way to building a signature bridge.
This comes as the billion dollar underground tunnel project is in its final stretch and prepares to open next year.
The 395 overpass stands tall in northwest Miami—connecting the 836, I95 and McArthur Causeway. City, county, and state leaders not only consider it an eyesore, but they also believe it’s ineffective.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez told CBS4’s Jamie Guirola, “Really the 395 bridge kind of divides downtown and it really creates up and down and it’s really not a good situation.”
Governor Rick Scott and Mayor Gimenez, on Tuesday, announced bold plans to recreate the major artery–with repairs, upgrades and revisions.
“It’ll be good for the port it will be good for the city and good for getting more trade and getting people through the city,” Governor Rick Scott said.
Discussions to overhaul the overpass have stretched more than a decade. But the joint announcement solidifies serious steps to building a new 395 signature bridge. The Governor and Mayor said the Florida Department of Transportation is committed to building a cost effective, visually appealing bridge.
Mayor Gimenez said, “But we gotta do it right. It’s not gonna be cheap but it needs to be done right.”
An advisory committee is being created to draw up plans and ideas for the new project. FDOT will ask the legislature for hundreds of millions of dollars for the project. Leaders said the investment will enhance the expansion of Port Miami and the Port Tunnel. It will also make it easier to get from the Performing Arts Center to the heart of downtown—while at the same time improving Overtown.
Mayor Gimenez said, “It’ll make good TV when people are looking at events downtown to have this signature bridge there. Look what happened to Boston when they did their bridge on the expressway system there. That’s part of the landscape standup.”
The advisory committee will be tasked with:
• Evaluating and recommending various bridge concepts proposed by FDOT.
• Providing input to FDOT on the selection criteria for teams interested in submitting proposals for the project
• Serving as an aesthetic advisory group to FDOT during the procurement of the firms to design and build the project.
City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado also weighed in. “PortMiami is incredibly important to Florida’s economic success and this project will improve access to it. Miami is undeniably a global hub for business and this project will be a huge success for the Miami community,” said Regalado.
FDOT is developing the preliminary design for a roadway project along SR 836/I-395, from west of I-95 to the MacArthur Causeway Bridge in Miami. This project will rebuild Interstate 395 (I-395), from west of I-95/midtown interchange to the West Channel Bridges of the MacArthur Causeway, approximately 1.4 miles.
The bridge could cost as much as 600 million dollars and create as many as 30-thousand new jobs.