$2.7 Sunset Dr. Makeover to aid bikers, pedestrians

Road construction continues on Sunset Drive in Kendall.

A $2.7 million makeover of a portion of Sunset Drive in East Kendall is nearing completion with new landscaping and widening of outside lanes to accommodate bikers plus new sidewalks to provide added pedestrian safety.

Extending west from SW 69th Avenue to SW 84th Place, the project was begun in October 2011 on the strip of SW 72nd

Street, which also is designated as Marjorie Stoneham Douglas Drive in tribute to the author and environmentalist. Completion is now scheduled for mid- August, barring “bad weather or other unexpected conditions,” according to Heather M. Leslie, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) spokesperson.

As part of the project, the contractor has narrowed portions of center medians to provide an outside lane wide enough for sharing by bicyclists as well as adding safe- ty for both pedestrians and motorists.

During the project design, a landscape architect developed an inventory of the existing trees, evaluating those for removal because of non-compliance with design standards and interference with work per- formed, Leslie said.

“Approximately 244 trees are scheduled to be removed,” she added. “The team preserved the trees that did not violate the state’s design standards. As part of this construction project, about 347 solitaire palms will be planted in the grass area along the sides of Sunset Drive.

“These palms were selected because their trunk size will not grow larger than the maximum diameter that is required by the state for safety reasons,”she said, noting new construction includes narrowing center median sections to provide a wider outside lane that will better accommodate bicycle access.

Other project work includes installing new sidewalks and pedestrian ramps; replacing median curbs and gutters; installing drainage structures; signalization enhancements; leveling existing driveways to match the roadway; updating signage and pavement markings; erecting “Share the Road”

signs for bicyclists, repaving and restriping. The construction contract totals $2,761,989. Other recent area FDOT projects include: • In West Miami and Coral Gables: SW 57th Avenue (SR 590) from 24th Street to SW Eight Street, repaving, re-striping, new sidewalks, curbing, gutters, adding bicycle lanes, installing new traffic signals at SW 24th Street, lengthening existing SW Eighth Street turn lanes, creating a left-turn-only lane at Eighth Street for traffic turning from northbound SW 57th Avenue, increasing lengths of turning lanes on SW 57th Avenue and installing new trees at a total cost of $3.8 million. Project was begun in May for

completion April 2013.
• Repaving and re-striping Bird Road

(SW 40th Street) between 71st and 73rd avenues, and between 68th and 70th avenues, including extension of turn lanes to 72nd and 69th avenues; replacing storm water drains, sidewalks, gutters, pedestrian ramps, traffic signals, CSX Railroad signals and crossing gates, and upgrading street lights at a total cost of $1.02 million (begun June 2011 and completed in February).

• Adding additional turn lanes on north- bound S. Dixie Highway (US1) to turn west and on southbound US1 to turn east on Marlin Road in Cutler Bay, including new traffic lights, signage, repaving and re-striping the roadway at a total cost of $295,091 (begun October 2011 and completed March).

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