New poles will close gap in 104th Street lighting

By mid-October federal stimulus funding will have paid for completing a missing gap of street lighting on SW 104th Street.

Except for a segment between 137th and 147th avenues, SW 104th Street between the Shula Expressway (SR 874) and the east entry to The Hammocks at SW 147th Avenue is lighted, according to the Miami- Dade Department of Public Works (DPW).

Project work has been underway since Mar. 30. Construction during May continued on the north side of SW 104th Street where power installations were completed to accommodate the first of 29 decorative poles, each 40-feet high and equipped with 400- watt, high pressure sodium lighting, according to Delfin Molins, DPW spokesperson. During daytime hours, westbound traffic flow was restricted to single lane travel in work areas, west of SW 137th Avenue, as Underpower, a Miami subcontractor, completed underground wiring for FPL installation of power lines.

The $312,828 project is funded by the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) following recommendations by Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez and the DPW.

“To become eligible, the project had to meet a list of specific criteria,” Molins said. “Included is a requirement that plans must be ‘on the shelf,’ a project that is ready to go to construction without further planning needed.” Manuel Orbis, aide to Commissioner Martinez, added, “ARRA funding has very specific limits as to where and how the funding can be used. Public Works along with the Florida Department of Transportation determined that yes, lighting that portion does meet the criteria, so it was approved.” “The project signage initially worried me,” said Martha Backer. “When I saw the whirls and markings on the sidewalk, I wondered if six-laning of SW 104th Street had been revived.”

In 2006-07, Backer and Jane Walker, area residents, successfully led an organized protest to delay indefinitely a $6 million widening of SW 104th Street to six lanes in the same area. During several meetings with public officials, residents argued against the necessity to widen the section line road from four to six lanes (as determined by increased traffic counts), as well as uprooting mature palms and existing median and swale landscaping.

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