Four turnpike projects to create express lanes

Florida’s Turnpike lane-widening projects from Bird Road in Kendall south to Cutler Bay are due to begin providing express lane driving by 2018 at an initial estimated expense of $315 million.

Once all four projects are completed, motorists will have the option of express lane driving with SunPass tolls from Bird Road (SW 40th Street) to SW 216th Street. Two Kendall projects south of Bird Road represent $186.9 million.

Two projects in Kendall represent $186.9 million of more than $426 million in contracts during fiscal years 2014 and 2015 within Miami-Dade County, according to turnpike contract reports.

Underway since the last year, the project between SW 40th and SW 72nd streets will increase current six and four lanes to eight and 10 lanes, and will incorporate new express lanes adjacent to center medians, similar to those on I-95 in eastern Miami-Dade County.

Projected costs and dates for completion may be subject to change, Florida’s Turnpike officials noted. The four projects as summarized in January FDOT reports:

1. Widening the turnpike from six to 10 lanes from Bird Road (SW 40th Street) south to Sunset Drive (SW 72nd Street) including sound barrier walls along residential areas on the west side from Sunset to Miller Road (SW 56th Street) and buffering Kendall Regional Medical Center on the west.

Construction, begun in 2015, is due for completion at a cost of $54.4 million in 2018. Work also includes asphalt milling and resurfacing, additional drainage, signage and lighting improvements, landscaping, and traffic signal improvements on local roads.

2. A second six- to 10-lane widening is underway to continue the express lanes development for an adjoining section from Sunset south to Killian Parkway (SW 104th Street) with sound barriers along both east and west sides at residential areas as well as new toll gantries. Construction that began in May 2015 also is due for completion in early 2018 at a cost of $73.9 million.

Work also includes asphalt milling and resurfacing, new lane striping and traffic delineators (plastic poles), additional drainage, signage and lighting improvements, landscaping, and traffic signal improvements on local roads.

3. South of Killian Parkway, the turnpike widening will create eight and 12 lanes to Eureka Drive (SW 184th Street) with major improvements scheduled for the interchange and realignment with State Road 874. The project that also includes sound barrier walls has been underway since March 2014 and is scheduled for completion before the end of 2017 at a cost of $145.3 million. Work also includes asphalt milling and resurfacing, bridge widening, landscaping, drainage, lighting, signage and traffic signal improvements on local roads.

4. Between Eureka Drive and SW 216th Street, current four traffic lanes are being widened to six, eight and 10 lanes with sound barrier walls built along residential areas on the east side of the turnpike. Construction that began in August 2013 is due for completion by late 2016 or early 2017 at a cost of $41.6 million. Work includes asphalt milling and resurfacing, bridge widening, drainage, lighting, signage and traffic signal improvements on local roads.

A separate project scheduled in 2016 is scheduled for improvements at the Turnpike/Campbell Drive interchange at a cost of $22 million, providing a new one-lane northbound on-ramp at the Turnpike/SR 821 in the northeast interchange quadrant.

An exclusive right-turn lane will be constructed just west of the Hampton Inn hotel entrance to provide direct access from SW 152nd Street to the turnpike northbound on ramp. Noise walls will be constructed in select areas as part of the project.

Circulator access okayed on Busway

The Miami-Dade County Commission has authorized municipal circulators to operate on the South Miami-Dade Busway following passage of an ordinance sponsored by Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava.

“Allowing the city circulators on the Busway is a simple, common sense solution. Many circulators currently connect to the Metrorail,” Cava said. “Now, they will be able to bypass traffic congestion, connect directly to routes on the Busway and provide faster and more efficient service.

Cities along the Busway must submit their plans to obtain approval to offer additional relief for S. Dixie Highway (US1) commuters.


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