A$3 million Sunset Dr. improvement project west of SW 87th Avenue, which began Jan. 3, continues the upgrading of an approximate five-mile stretch named for environmentalist and author Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
It also means the Florida Department of Transportation will have spent or scheduled $5.5 million to improve the roadway over two years, including a $2.5 million reconstruction project between SW 69th and 87th avenues completed in November 2012.
The newest Sunset Drive project over a 2.3-mile distance initially is focused on replacing broken sidewalk sections that pose pedestrian hazards, as well as rebuilding traffic separators to accommodate more turning lane traffic.
In addition, damaged entry drives will be rebuilt and new road signage installed before a major repaving and restriping of the street toward the end of the contract schedule, according to FDOT spokesperson Heather M. Leslie.
Current work that began immediately west of SW 87 Avenue may require a single eastbound or westbound lane closures between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. At least one travel lane will remain open at all times, she said.
While the project is anticipated to be finished by September, weather or other unforeseen circumstances could lengthen the completion time, she added.
A recently completed nearly three-mile improvement project begun in October 2011 built new traffic separators that allowed for a wider shared bicycle-motorist traffic lane as well as new sidewalks, underground drainage improvements, traffic signal replacement and repaving.
To improve appearance, extensive new landscaping now lines both sides of Sunset Drive east of SW 87th Avenue, including 330 solitaire palms and other tropicals west of SW 69th Avenue. Solitaire palms were selected because trunk sizes will not grow larger than a maximum diameter required for safety reasons.
The new plantings replaced 244 trees requiring removal because they did not meet standards established by FDOT for newly scheduled improvements.