Miami Beach


Miami Beach looks to loosen future gridlock after 2 crashes

After two major major crashes over four days brought traffic on the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways to a standstill, Miami Beach partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation to avoid future logjams.

“We had a very productive meeting with FDOT staff, and they will continue working with city staff to ensure that our streets remain free of traffic congestion to the best of their ability,” Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said in a statement.

Drivers last Saturday were stuck in traffic around Miami Beach after an SUV, carrying seven people, struck the guardrail on the north shoulder of the Julia Tuttle Causeway, west of Alton Road, before flipping and landing in grassy embankment.

“It was a gridlock,” said Miami Beach spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez. “There was traffic all the way to the north end. It was very challenging.”

Besides the usual heavy Saturday traffic, the added stress of people heading to and from the South Beach Wine and Food festival made it even more painful for drivers.

“Our police department was out there trying to do their best,” Rodriguez said.

When former University of Miami Hurricanes football player JoJo Nicolas crashed on the MacArthur Causeway early Tuesday, traffic once again grinded to a halt. That the tie-ups spilled into the morning rush hour made matters even worse, Rodriguez said.

Both times, the city requested that tolls on the Venetian Causeway be waived. But according to Rodriguez, the request was carried out only on Tuesday. The tolls are operated by the county.

In the future, Miami Beach and Miami-Dade county plan on working together to waive tolls when emergency situations arise.

Other initiatives to speed up traffic flows include traffic cameras and manipulating signals, speeding up the removal of vehicles, cargo and debris from the roadways, and conducting regular meetings with FDOT to identify and implement emergency measures.

“During Art Basel we actually used the FDOT cameras and had someone override signals” in order to clear up traffic jams, Rodriguez said. “And it worked.”

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