MDX studying three exits for SR 874 to 137th Ave.

By Richard Yager….

West Kendall’s Martha Backer (right) gets SW 136th Street interchange details from an MDX representative.

Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) now is considering three routes to expedite traffic entering and exiting the Shula Expressway (SR 874) and SW 137th Avenue to help relieve traffic congestion farther south where Florida’s Turnpike interchanges with SW 152nd Street.

New plans utilizing SW 128th or SW 136th streets as accesses between the Shula and SW 137th Avenue brought more than 100 curious residents to the Country Walk Clubhouse on Sept. 21 for an MDX workshop.

More than a dozen MDX consultants and staff members conducted explanatory tours of aerial blowups outlining a fiveyear program to determine the best route for an “MDX SR 874/Shula Expressway Ramp Connector.”

The original MDX “preferred” design of twin ramps curving southwest onto SW 136th Street is no longer considered “viable” due to their impact on the Tamiami Pineland Preserve adjacent to the west side of SR 874, north of SW 136th Street.

The now-discarded route would have connected the northbound Shula by elevated bridging of the turnpike while a southbound exit road cut heavily into the pineland before continuing west on SW 136th Street to SW 137th Avenue.

As a result, MDX now is studying three alternative “corridors” including a route designated as “A” that uses SW 128th Street as the primary access between the Shula and SW 137th Avenue.

The route “will require minimal additional right-of-way in a corridor that adjoins warehouses and the southern boundary of the Nixon Smiley Pineland Preserve,” the MDX detailed in its newest study report.

An “Alternative C” proposes a connection over 136th Street beginning at SW 137th Avenue that would be elevated over the CSX railroad tracks “in close proximity” to the Bonita Lakes community and the Tamiami Pineland Preserve.

A third “Alternative F” follows a “general alignment” of the A and C corridors, but locates a separate eastbound on-ramp to the Shula from SW 136th Street and a westbound off-ramp to SW 128th Street to connect to SW 137th Avenue.

The project is being screened by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) on behalf of MDX to relieve “significant traffic congestion” on the turnpike at SW 152nd Street interchanges, compounded by heavy north-south traffic flows on SW 117th Avenue.

Accessing the Shula north of that interchange also would improve “connectivity to residents and other motorists throughout the entire West Kendall area,” according to the MDX project description.

“Ultimately, if they do this, it will take some of the people from the west down south to get on the Shula instead of piling up on 104th Street and going east,” was an initial reaction of Martha Backer, active in West Kendall community affairs.

She and others were provided with cards to make comments on the project as now planned during the PD&E (Project Development and Environmental) study.

According to Roberto C. Gutierrez of Metric Engineering, project engineers for MDX, the five-year study will continue through 2015 with an approximate twoyear construction period scheduled for completion by 2017. The next public meeting on MDX planning is dated for June 2011.

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