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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A daily commute turning into a three hour round trip ordeal is a frustrating reality for some living in Kendall and parts of Southwest Miami-Dade.

“It’s horrible!  It is absolutely horrible,” said commuter Mayra Izquierdo.

MDX is proposing a new toll road called the Kendall Parkway.

It’s an extension of the 836 expressway that would curve south, extending to Southwest 136th street.

The idea is to take some of that traffic away from the Turnpike, giving drivers faster options.

“I hope that it goes through to at least try to alleviate some congestion,” said Izquierdo.

Laura Reynolds is an environmentalist with Friends of the Everglades and Hold the Line.  She has big concerns.

“Right now it’s going through sensitive wetlands which are part of the Everglades restoration and over the top of our well field which is protected for drinking water,” said Reynolds.

The proposed toll road runs just beyond the urban development boundary.

MDX says it’s been doing environmental studies for four years and must comply with all regulations.  And they plan other protections.

“We will be purchasing about 1000 acres of environmental sensitive land and putting it in public trust either to the county or the state for perpetuity,” said Tere Garcia from MDX, “Which means that no development can happen there.”

One other concern of environmentalists is that the expressway could lead to more development.

“There’s no way you can build a highway and not induce sprawl or induce pressure to develop,” said Reynolds. “Because whenever you have a highway it allows for more development.”

MDX said they thought of that too.

“We are only providing access to the expressway from the east,” Garcia said.  The expressway authority says that discourages development further west, in an area that is already off limits to development.

If the Kendall parkway is approved, which it still has a ways to go construction wouldn’t begin probably until spring of next year, and it would likely take between 3 and 5 years to complete.

The county had planned a public hearing on the proposed expressway this morning.

That hearing was delayed until June 20th. That’s the same day the county plans to send the plan to the state for feedback.

Ted Scouten

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