Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez officially unveils “New Town Square” Green Open Space Plaza Concept

The concept illustrated is an artistic rendering depicting the tunneling of the I-395 highway (east–west) and Biscayne Boulevard (north-south), thus enabling the creation of an open space that encompasses three arts facilities and a public park overlooking Biscayne Bay. The recaptured green space amounts to approximately 15.5 acres, not including the adjoining Museum Park.

This idea incorporates the long held proposals of three former Miami mayors, Maurice Ferre, Xavier L. Suarez and Manny Diaz, of burying I-395 at the Biscayne Boulevard intersection. The practical problem with that concept was that it would require a very steep slope to tunnel under Biscayne Blvd and merge into the MacArthur Causeway ramp. The solution illustrated here combines an idea elaborated by a top engineer, Louis Brais (from the firm Bouygues Construction, responsible for the PortMiami Tunnel) with my proposal to take Biscayne Boulevard underground. The I-395 signature crossover would then become what is called a “cut and cross,” meaning a one-half level indentation resting on a one and a half level tunneling of Biscayne Blvd such that the incline from I-395 is made very slight and inexpensive. That is the genius of Mr. Brais’ concepts. The intersection of the two underground roadways would be topped by an open space sitting approximately 10 feet above grade.

The focal point of the green space would be the “Conch” sculpture, representing our shore line, the bay, the Caribbean and the Americas, as well as the architectural style of the earliest settlers of downtown Miami, Overtown and Coconut Grove.



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