The road improvement project undertaken by Miami-Dade County, begun in the summer of 2012 along parts of Old Cutler Road in Cutler Bay, is finally complete with only a few landscaping touches remaining.
Business owners in the affected area who had seen their customers stay away due to reduced access and traffic problems caused by the construction are pleased that the work is done now and are encouraged about the prospects for improving business.
Al Royston, president and CEO of A. Randall Financial and a member of the Cutler Bay Business Association, had heard from many of the area merchants.
“The reports I get back are ‘Thank God it’s over’ and they’re very hopeful that business will pick up better than it has been,” Royston said. “The retail merchants suffered badly during the construction. We’re looking forward to better times here. All the road signs are up at this point and we’re getting back to a pretty normal pattern of traffic. It’s looking beautiful.”
Designed to greatly improve the road surface, the project also added curbing, sidewalks and a bike path along a substantial portion of Old Cutler Road. Trees and other landscaping were added as well.
“It looks really nice,” said Barbara Wilson, owner of Blooming Gardens Florist at 20462 Old Cutler Rd. “Hopefully people will start coming back on Old Cutler again. They don’t have as many dual turn lanes as before, and I think that was one of the plans of the project, because there used to be a lot of accidents. We can wash the windows again, since the dust is over. Now we’re gearing up for Valentine’s Day.”
Tiffany Kuboske, who opened the Tan It Up Salon and Boutique with business partner Kathy McMillan, is encouraged, too. Located at 20410 Old Cutler Rd., next to Rodbenders Seafood, their first day of business was June 10, 2013, when construction had created the most traffic disruption.
“It’s a little better on Old Cutler, but not like it was, yet,” Kuboske said. “They’re still working a little up past where we are, but they’re closing the road late at night so it doesn’t affect traffic for the businesses.”
While Cutler Bay Town Hall staff confirms that a formal dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony will take place sometime in March, Royston said that the merchants likely will begin celebrating sooner.
“We’re supposed to have something,” Royston said. “The Town Manager’s Office is organizing and we’re assisting. Our plan is to have a celebration of the reopening of the road, with a lot of hoopla if we can and encourage all of our neighbors to come back and see what’s going on and shop the merchants and services of Old Cutler Road and Franjo. The Cutler Bay Business Association is trying to do our part to help those merchants get traffic back into their stores.”