Town works to keep residents informed about road project

Work continues on the Old Cutler Road Improvement Project.

To keep residents and business owners informed of the status of the Old Cutler Road Improvement Project that is now underway, the Public Works staff of the Town of Cutler Bay is making an unprecedented effort to get the word out as the construction advances.

Rafael Casals, director of Public Works, stated recently with great enthusiasm that the town is doing everything possible to keep everyone informed to avoid unpleasant surprises and problems.

“We’re ahead of schedule, but as we’re approaching the commercial district my primary goal is that we make people aware, that business owners know that we’re coming,” Casals said. “That’s why we’re going door to door. We take great pride in that. And the weekly meetings — that’s unique to this project, the aggressive public outreach effort that we have. Also we have the engineer here the second Tuesday of each month so people can come in and ask questions.”

Those meetings occur at Town Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and offer a one-on-one chat with the town’s project engineer/public information officer. People also may call for an appointment tailored to their schedules.

The road improvement project is being done jointly with Miami-Dade County Public Works Department and is funded by the People’s Transportation Plan and the Town of Cutler Bay at a cost of approximately $7.5 million. It is designed to improve road safety, ease traffic congestion, enhance traffic flow and pedestrian mobility and improve the function and flow of mass transit.

In addition, the project includes a new stormwater drainage system and street lighting, native landscaping, bus benches or shelters, a shared use bike path and traffic circles. All of this is taking place between SW 97th Avenue and SW 87th Avenue on Old Cutler Road. The estimated completion date is fall of 2013.

“We’re not shutting down Old Cutler,” Casals said. “We’re keeping first one side, then the other open to minimize inconvenience. And in the business areas and side streets we’re trying to make sure that access is still provided.”

Mayor Ed MacDougall said he is satisfied that the town’s outreach effort is making a difference.

“I think that the current program we have in place is working marvelously,” MacDougall said. “I couldn’t be happier. I think not only the administration but the council members as well are making every attempt to keep the citizens informed. As it stands currently, I’ve had no negative feedback at all.”

Bill Pasetti, manager of the Publix Supermarket on Old Cutler Road, expressed the viewpoint of a merchant affected by the project.

“They’ve contacted us and basically told us what their plans are and what they’re doing, and they’ve given us pictures of what it’s supposed to look like,” Pasetti said. “They’ve been very cooperative and they’ve tried to accommodate our shopping center and most of the businesses in a good way, so I think it’s a very positive thing for the community.”

Maria Porrata of Marlin Engineering, the contractor doing the work, said she is pleased with the way the road improvement effort is taking shape.

“I think this is one of those projects that you take pride in as an engineer because it’s going to make such a difference for the people there and really beautify the area,” Porrata said.

For information, call the town’s Public Works Department at 305-234-4262 or send an email to oldcutlerroadimprovements@cutlerbay-fl.gov.

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