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Front Page » Transportation » Massive I-395, I-95, SR 836 and signature bridge work rolling

Massive I-395, I-95, SR 836 and signature bridge work rolling

Written by on June 4, 2019
Massive I-395, I-95, SR 836 and signature bridge work rolling

All three pieces of the $802 million design-build project encompassing I-395, I-95 and SR 836 are underway and on-schedule, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) spokesperson Oscar Gonzalez said.

Mr. Gonzalez confirmed this week that while some parts of the design-build project are “being further developed” by contractor Archer-Western-de Moya Joint Venture, FDOT still targets fall 2023 for “overall completion.”

Preliminary activities began in January for the project, which includes construction on I-395 of a six-arch “signature bridge” spanning 1,025 feet over Northeast Second Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard, a double-decker “viaduct” over 836 between Northwest 17th Avenue and the Midtown Interchange, and pavement work on I-95 between Northwest Eighth and 29th streets.

Mr. Gonzalez said lane closures for all three projects are being done at non-peak hours.

Foundation work on some of the I-395 bridges that are part of the 1.4-mile roadway project will begin later this month or in early July, he said, with work on the signature bridge set to start late this year.

“Much of the work on the signature bridge can be done without major impacts to traffic on I-395 as there is available right-of-way outside the travel lanes,” he said, adding that a closure of Northeast 12th Street between Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast Second Avenue will be necessary “sometime in December” so FDOT can begin work on the bridge’s central foundation.

To compensate, he said, drivers will be able to use Northeast 13th Street, which will be widened to three lanes to accommodate the added traffic, and Northeast First Avenue, which will be temporarily converted to two-way traffic to allow access to the westbound I-395 ramps.

The total I-395 project, upon completion, “will create additional capacity… with a total of three through lanes in each direction and provide separate connector ramps to and from I-95,” the project website says.

Roadway workers are also preparing to widen the 836 bridges over the Lawrence Canal and Northwest 17th Avenue to permit “future traffic shifts” and so Archer-Western-de Moya can establish a work zone in the median, Mr. Gonzalez said.

“Once the work zone is set up, the contractor will begin major work on the double-decker foundations and columns, which will be followed by the erection of the bridge caps and beams and finally the roadway deck,” he said.

Once finished, the viaduct will feature two lanes in each direction providing drivers with a direct connection to the MacArthur Causeway, allowing drivers to entirely bypass the Midtown Interchange, project documents show.

The existing one-lane 836 ramp to northbound I-95 – which backs up regularly and permits inconsiderate drivers to cut in at the last minute, imperiling others on the roadway – will gain a lane, doubling its capacity.

Work on I-95 is progressing too, Mr. Gonzalez said, with construction happening between Northwest 17th and 29th streets “to extend a northbound auxiliary lane” that will receive added traffic from the eastbound 836 ramp to northbound I-95.

Replacement of concrete pavement for all travel lanes along that stretch is also in the project plans.

Other ongoing projects there, he said, include drainage, installing new overhead sign foundations and structures, and construction of a new median barrier wall.

A potential fourth piece of the monumental project cleared Miami Commission Chambers in March, when city commissioners authorized the city manager to make a deal with FDOT to collaborate on turning 33 acres under the I-395 signature bridge into an open space and urban destination.

The city, Mr. Gonzalez said, is now “undertaking the conceptual design, programming and business and operations plan” for the space and will coordinate those plans with FDOT, which maintains jurisdictional ownership and approval of the space and is responsible for its build-out based on agreement by both parties.

In addition to beautifying the area below the bridge and turning it into a usable shared space, the planned lighted park will provide “a contiguous trail” reconnecting Overtown, downtown Miami, Edgewater and the Omni neighborhood, the project website says.

Mr. Gonzalez said he expects city to develop its initial concept design for the park this fall, after which both parties will “go through iterations of design based on FDOT feedback.”

Once finished, Miami plans to lease the activated park, for which the state will grant the city nonexclusive jurisdiction for “zoning, planning, permitting and operation thereof,” the city resolution said.

The agreement includes provisions for profit, stating that FDOT and the city “possess a mutual understanding [that] the [park] should be planned and designed in a manner that allows for revenue-generating opportunities in order to fund operations and maintenance…”

Mayor Francis Suarez said there is “no better space” to build a new and better park, as it sits central to the downtown arts and entertainment districts and provides a link to Miami Beach.

Construction of the park will be completed “during the final stages of the [I-395] project,” Mr. Gonzalez said, because “all the overhead… bridge work needs to be [done] prior to the community space being opened.”

7 Responses to Massive I-395, I-95, SR 836 and signature bridge work rolling

  1. William P Martin

    June 6, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    These are not solutions for the 21th century. Instead, with that money, they should have extended the Metromover all the way to the Design District, and Miami Beach. With additional funds, extend Metrorail’s Orange line all the way to west Miami-Dade to alleviate traffic on SR 836.

    • Realtalk Reilly

      June 7, 2019 at 7:38 pm

      What you proposed are not solutions for the 22th century, William. Instead, with that money, they should have invested in the research and development of transporter tubes like on The Jetsons, or teleporter technology like on Star Trek.

  2. EJS

    June 7, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    I agree with the comment from Martin. For a city to invest this much to alleviate traffic, without including rapid transit in the mix, is backwards. It’s the opposite of what every major metropolitan city is doing. Corporate headquarters are choosing cities to move to that offer 21st C solutions to transportation, not a bandage to a problem like Miami is doing with this project. How many years after this project’s completion will FDOT announce that it needs to be expanded/reconfigured due to increased traffic congestion?

    • David H Dennis

      July 6, 2019 at 9:42 pm

      Transit market share in Miami is under 5%. Most other cities are about the same. Transit is inconvenient, expensive and diverts almost nobody from cars. I think Miami is smarter than other cities that have placed billion dollar bets on projects nobody wants to use.

  3. Gerwyn Flax

    June 7, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Leaving the park design for the city of Miami to complete and operate is a huge mistake. They will value engineer it, watering it down to a place where no one wants to go. This park will be a waste of money. When was the last time anyone but the homeless wanted to visit the underbelly of a noisy filthy bridge, masquerading as a park? One only has to look at the areas under the current bridge to get an idea of how well this city maintains that area.

  4. George Harris

    June 10, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    Anytime you see the words “signature bridge” or “signature” anything realted to something being built by a government agency, you should know the public is getting ripped off to satisfy some politician’s urge to get more into the public eye.


    August 12, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    As a resident in the affected area, it’s obvious that this very expensive project is intended to support the construction industry in South Florida. Most of the time the workers stand around talking, with little work being accomplished. In one instance, I watched them dig a sewer, prep for pavement, pave over it, then back hoe the pavement, dig at the sewer again and pave over it again.