Access from SW 128th Street to the Shula Expressway (SR 874) has been designated as a preferred route to relieve traffic congestion at the SW 152nd Street interchange on Florida’s Turpike and 104th Street interchange on SR 874.
Selection of the alternative “A” route along the SW 128th Street corridor was presented as the best among six reviewed by a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX).
As now planned, the project would widen SW 128th Street from two to four lanes east of SW 137th Avenue with two-lane access and exiting ramps. The project also would provide a sixfoot wide sidewalk along the north side of SW 128th Street and a 10-foot shared use path on the south side.
Current estimate for right-of-way acquisition and construction stands at $112 million, according to MDX spokesperson Tere Garcia, who said, “potentially construction could start in the 2013-14 fiscal year and last up to two years.”
MDX currently is preparing its next Five-Year Work Program for approval in January, which would include funds to prepare a final design package and rightof- way budgets for the fiscal year starting July 2012.
She said that MDX will coordinate with planned turnpike construction improvements.
The plan was presented at a Dec. 8 public hearing, preceded by an earlier meeting on Sept. 27 when a public workshop began study of six alternative routes along SW 128th or SW 136th streets proposed.
Selection of the SW 128th Street corridor was based partly on a lesser impact to the adjoining Nixon Smiley Pineland Preserve than its counterpart, the Tamiami Complex Pineland Preserve bordering SW 136th Street, according to Robert Linares, project manager for Metric Engineering of Miami, consulting firm for two years at a cost of $1.1 million.
“The SW 136th Street alternative from the project concept study was moved to SW 128th Street due to the high impact that originally preferred route would have on the Tamiami Pineland site,” he noted, displaying a map that showed that route nearly bisecting the preserve that is adjacent to a section of SR 874.
While traffic relief in the SW 152nd Street and 117th Avenue interchange was the primary overall reason for accessibility, Linares said “mobility and connectivity” on both the Shula and turnpike would benefit as well as improving their use as hurricane evacuation routes. In addition, petitions preceding the hearing from homeowner organizations of both Tuscany Village and Venzia Lakes, communities with main entrances off SW 136th Street, indicated strong resident protests would continue if MDX chose that route.
“This will prove much more acceptable to our residents as well as those who use SW 136th Street as the main entry to their homes,” confirmed a spokesperson for nearly 500 Tuscany Village homeowners in the Three Lakes area off SW 133rd Street.
Even so, immediate opposition arose during a public comment section following close of the hearing, voiced by several commercial owners and a church pastor.
“Such a route will severely impact owners of commercial businesses now existing along SW 128th Street,” declared attorney Toby P. Brigham, representing J&B Importers Inc., K&B Investments Corp., So-Jo & Associates, Ltd., and Flyer Ventures Ltd., all fronting SW 128th Street.
Use of SW 136th Street would reduce overall cost since an existing 80-foot right of way would not involve eminent domain takings that would be required on SW 128th Street, “severely and adversely impacting the use and value” of client properties, he added. Brigham also claimed secondary effects of increased traffic on SW 128th Street would heighten danger to wildlife using the Smiley preserve as a habitat.
Traffic and parking issues were the reasons Pastor Kevin Foster of Miami Vineyard Church, 14260 SW 119 Ave., urged reconsideration, saying his 3,000-member congregation currently is in contract negotiations to purchase Signature Gardens at 12725 SW 127 Ave. as a new home. The presentation details can be viewed online at the MDX website at www.mdxway.com.