A major traffic shift at the interchange that links two of the busiest expressways in Miami-Dade County, the Palmetto and Dolphin expressways, went smoothly Monday despite the convoluted new circulation pattern.
The existing southbound State Road 826 (Palmetto) ramp to eastbound State Road 836 (Dolphin) was permanently closed and drivers were shifted onto a temporary ramp, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
The temporary eastbound 836 ramp is now be the first exit to the right upon entering the existing westbound 836 ramp.
In addition to the opening of the eastbound 836 temporary ramp, mainline eastbound traffic on 836 was shifted to the right onto a new roadway after Northwest 82nd Avenue.
Because of the ramp shift, several closings occurred including eastbound 836 just east of Northwest 82nd Avenue between late Saturday and early Sunday. Monday was the first test for the weekday commuter.
“Traffic is flowing as expected,” said Oscar Gonzalez, a project spokesman. “As with any major traffic change, it will take three to four days for drivers to become accustomed to the new traffic pattern.”
Florida Highway Patrol said it received no complaints about the changes.
“I haven’t heard of any reports of accidents or complaints and so, I have nothing to report at this point,” said FHP spokesman in Miami Joe Sanchez.
The shift was the second major one at the interchange in as many weeks.
A week earlier, on April 15, a more significant change took place for drivers heading north on the Palmetto. If they want to head east on 836 or exit at Flagler Street or Northwest 72nd Avenue, they now have to take a new exit just north of Calle Ocho, instead of staying on 826 northbound and taking the ramp at 836 as they did before.
The changes are part of the massive $560 million overhaul of the 826-836 interchange near Miami International Airport.
Construction of new ramps will continue until the project is completed in 2015, replacing the current interchange with a series of soaring ramps linking the two busy expressways.