Commuters who travel everyday along the SR 836/Dolphin Expressway are used to seeing Miami International Airport on one side of the highway and Blue Lagoon on the other. But lately, they are also getting a first-hand look at major roadway enhancements being done by MDX along this popular east-west highway.
Among the improvements, MDX is introducing one additional lane in each direction between NW 17th Ave. and NW 57th Ave. and is expanding the shoulders of the road here as well, to accommodate express-bus service.
But the biggest change is the installation of two totally reconstructed highway interchanges – at NW 27th Ave. and at NW 57th Ave. – using an innovative traffic solution called a “Diverging Diamond Interchange.”
DDI is a modern design format proven across the country to relieve traffic congestion, improve expressway access, and enhance safety for drivers and pedestrians. These will be the first DDIs to be installed in all of South Florida.
“MDX’s primary mission is to improve mobility in Miami-Dade County,” says Juan Toledo, MDX Deputy Director/Director of Engineering. “While there is no silver bullet to solving all our traffic challenges, we are making incremental improvements in a comprehensive way. “The DDI interchanges will reduce congestion caused by expressway traffic in these areas.”
The DDI has been credited with improving safety and traffic efficiency over more traditional interchange formats because left turns across oncoming traffic – a significant source of accidents – are eliminated. Upon entering the intersection drivers will briefly cross over to the left or “opposite” side of the road in a crisscross or diamond pattern. The extended ramp design and free flowing DDI traffic entering and exiting the expressway will reduce traffic on the surface roads and improve congestion for drivers in the neighborhoods nearby.
This conversion of the existing interchanges to a DDI format is part of MDX’s efforts to modernize SR 836. The new interchanges are scheduled to be completed in summer 2017. Over the next several months, MDX will engage in a significant public education program to introduce, inform, and educate the public and prepare local drivers to navigate through the DDI.
“Driving through the DDI is not complicated at all, but it is different when navigating one for the very first time – and these are the very first DDIs to be built in South Florida. We are working vigorously to ensure that the community is prepared,” said Toledo.
Commuters are invited to view an animation of the SR 836 Modernization from NW 57th Avenue to NW 17th Avenue project, and get details on the DDI, including instructions on how to drive through the interchange, at www.mdxway.com/projects/current.
MDX operates and maintains five user-supported expressways in Miami-Dade County – SR 112/Airport Expressway, SR 836/Dolphin Expressway, SR 874/Don Shula Expressway, SR 878/Snapper Creek Expressway, and SR 924/Gratigny Parkway. MDX expressways are funded by toll revenue, which is reinvested back into the community to fund construction of projects that alleviate traffic congestion, create thousands of local jobs, and provide new opportunities to small and local businesses.
Registration for the MDX Frequent Driver Program is open until March 31, 2017. Visit www.mdxway.com/frequentdriver.