SR 836/Dolphin Expressway – 50 years in the making


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Miami-Dade County is quite different than it was 50 years ago, and the Dolphin Expressway is keeping pace with that growth.

Miami-Dade Expressway (MDX) remains committed to modernizing and expanding SR 836 – the most important east-west expressway in Miami-Dade County. MDX’s current roadway improvement projects are transforming this 50-year old expressway into one that will meet the needs of the growing community and support its continued economic growth.

The first stretch of SR 836, which ran from SR 826/Palmetto Expressway to downtown Miami, opened 51 years ago in 1965. In 1974, a new segment extending to the Florida Turnpike opened and the roadway was renamed the Dolphin Expressway to commemorate the Miami Dolphins’ back-to-back Super Bowl wins. The expressway remained relatively the same for the next 20 years despite the fact that the county’s population and traffic continued to increase. In its early days, the expressway served the area’s 1 million people. Today, it serves a growing community of 3 million people and 15 million visitors.

When MDX was created in 1994 and gained jurisdiction of the Dolphin Expressway, the agency soon started its first program to enhance the vital artery that connects the airport to the seaport. With the assurance that collected tolls stayed in Miami-Dade County, MDX made critical infrastructure investments, adding lanes to the roadway, implementing operational improvements and incorporating the first use of open road tolling, which allows continuous traffic flow through the toll plazas and eases congestion. 

In 2007, MDX heralded the opening of the first new extension of an expressway in Miami-Dade County in 20 years. This expansion of the Dolphin Expressway to 137th Avenue reduced the travel time for residents living in west Dade by 50 percent.

Today, MDX continues to reconstruct and enhance SR 836 to benefit commerce in the area, improve the convergence of traffic and alleviate congestion. Two sections of the expressway between 87th Avenue and 17th Avenue currently are under construction. Another upcoming enhancement project, in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation, will address the segment that connects SR 836 to I-95.

“This third phase of improvements to the Dolphin Expressway will provide new connections and service to the Health District and Miami Beach and complement the state’s $1 billion investment in the PortMiami Tunnel,” said Juan Toledo, MDX Deputy Executive Director/Director of Engineering. “These projects together with the recently completed SR 836 and SR 826 interchange will provide the capacity to serve the growing Miami-Dade County community.”

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