Plans for new express lanes on Florida’s Turnpike are designed to eliminate signals and median openings to improve traffic flows at Bird Road and S.W 117th Avenue, according to Sonyha Rodriguez-Miller, agency spokesperson.
Barring any further changes in plans, the six-mile Kendall area expansion is anticipated to get underway in the fall at a total cost of $133 million. The project will be divided in two sections:
• Killian Drive (SW 104th Street) to SW 72nd Street Canal ($79 million), and
• SW 72nd Street Canal to Bird Road ($58 million).
As now designed, the project drops proposed express lane access and entries at SW 104th Street, which met strong resident protests during a public hearing in November.
Current planning relocates the turnpike’s northbound exit to the south because the existing ramp causes traffic backups that occur south of the Bird Road–SW 117th Avenue intersection, Rodriguez Miller noted.
The relocation, however, will continue to allow motorists exiting the turnpike to make northbound turns on SW 117th Avenue at the Bird Road intersection without changing the current configuration, she added.
An added westbound lane on Bird Road from SW 119th Court to S W 122nd Avenue will allow traffic to move away from the turnpike interchange and provide needed additional capacity, she said.
“The existing frontage road along SW 117th Avenue is undesirable with uncontrolled frontage road intersections adjacent to the intersections of east/west road and SW 117th Avenue. Conversion of the frontage road to one-way operation and controlling access to SW 117th Avenue provides a safer traffic condition by eliminating conflict points.”
Miami-Dade County has done similar improvements in other areas to improve traffic flows and provide safer, controlled access to neighborhood ramps.
A public hearing on Dec. 10 saw only a handful of citizen’s review revised turnpike planning in the Kendall area, largely voicing protest to inclusion of new express lanes planned between Homestead and the Dolphin Expressway (SR 836).
Florida’s Turnpike engineer Craig Bostic received public comment through Dec. 20 before closing that participation pending further project review before final plan approval.