Design Consultants To Propose Demolishing Downtown Miamis I395
By Frank Norton
National engineering consultants will propose demolishing Interstate 395 to make way for a new design to move traffic through downtown Miami.
The county in July hired North Carolina-based Kimley-Horn & Associates to run a $65,000 cost-benefit study of existing redesign proposals, including one to further elevate the expressway and another to run it underground.
The results of that study are nearly complete, said Kimley-Horn project engineer Freddie Vargas, as well as work on a new "solution that will gain the support of all the parties involved."
While Florida Department of Transportation and Port of Miami-Dade officials have recently pushed the idea of raising and expanding the expressway, officials for the city oppose any plan for an elevated highway downtown.
"That would just make our problems worse," said Otto Boudet, senior adviser for economic development to Mayor Manny Diaz. "We’re looking for a solution that will address the urban planning side of the problem as well as satisfying" the Florida Department of Transportation.
Kimley-Horn’s report could endorse elements of a proposal to run the expressway below ground between I-95 and the MacArthur Causeway, building a grand boulevard over it.
That effort, spearheaded by architect and urban designer Jorge Espinel, caught the attention of several city commissioners and mayoral staff during the past six months.
"Mr. Espinel’s plan addresses many of the urban design problems we have with I-395. The problem appears to be cost." Mr. Boudet said.
Florida Department of Transportation officials estimated the project would cost as much as $300 million.