The Miami Ironman Triathlon will wind its way through the streets of several Miami-Dade County communities on Oct. 30 and Pinecrest officials say that could result in some traffic problems for area residents.
The inaugural event – dubbed the Rohto Ironman 70.3 Miami and consisting of a 1.2- mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1- mile run – is expected to draw a capacity of 2,500 athletes to participate, thanks to the availability of 50 qualifying slots to the 2011 Foster Grant Ironman World Championship and a prize purse of $36,000.
Organizers say that because Miami has such a great variety of architecture and a wide diversity of cultures, the Ironman Miami has quickly become a destination event and attracted widespread interest in the triathlon community. However, since the bicycle part of the event is scheduled to take place on a Saturday morning when vehicle traffic is usually heavy, local officials are concerned that there could be problems.
“A portion of the bicycle part of the event traverses through Pinecrest along some of our major routes and this will be disruptive for traffic,” said Police Chief John Hohensee. “However, this event also affects other communities, so the police departments of the City of Miami, Coral Gables and Miami- Dade County also will participate to insure the safety and security of this event.”
Hohensee said the bicyclists will enter the Village at Red Road and Kendall Drive (Southwest 88th Street) and proceed west to 67th Avenue, then south to 120th Street; then west to 82nd Avenue, then south until it crosses 136th Street exiting the Village. About an hour later, after moving through Palmetto Bay and Cutler Ridge and onto Old Cutler Road, the bikers will race north and again pass through Pinecrest, before exiting into Coral Gables at 57th Avenue.
Hohensee said Village police will shut down various roadways that the bicyclists will be using for the duration of the race and the affects on traffic flow would continue to be felt until the last competitor departed Pinecrest.
“We are estimating that the bicyclists will arrive in the Village at about 7:30 a.m. and then they should all be gone by Noon,” he said. “We will have a significant uniform presence to make sure that people are not on that route either impeding the progress of the competitors or creating a safety issue.”
Hohensee said his department would make every effort to notify the public about the upcoming event and the necessity for closing roads and diverting traffic.
“About two weeks before the event we’ll have message boards up on all of the affected streets informing people about the event and advising them to avoid those areas because we will be restricting traffic off those streets,” he said. “The biggest thing we’re trying to get across is that this event is going on and we need to cooperate with one another and if you absolutely have to get someplace on the day of the race, it would be prudent to leave early and consider taking an alternate course that doesn’t conflict with the race route.”
The Miami Ironman is being staged by the World Triathlon Corporation, sanctioned by USA Triathlon, and will begin at 7 a.m. with the kick off swim in Biscayne Bay near the Port of Miami, followed by the bike race that will lead athletes north to Watson Island, loop back through south Miami-Dade and then back along Old Cutler Road to Bayfront Park, followed by the run course across McArthur Causeway and back to the finish line at Bayfront Park. Time limit for the entire event is eight hours.
For more information, go to www.ironmanmiami. com.