If you drive in South Beach, take note: Alton Road is partially closed for the next 10 months.
The shutdown is likely to cause traffic jams since Alton Road is a major thoroughfare. Meanwhile, residents along the West Avenue corridor are worried about the effects of a detour through their neighborhood.
Southbound Alton Road is shut down from Eighth Street to 17th Street. Traffic will be diverted to West Avenue, where center turn lanes have been eliminated. Two northbound lanes will remain open on Alton Road.
Parking on West Avenue is not affected, but parking on Alton Road is. On the west side of Alton, on-street parking will remain available between Eighth and 10th streets. On the east side of Alton, parking will remain available between Lincoln Road and 17th Street.
The southbound Alton closure is a result of a $32 million project by the Florida Department of Transportation. Below ground, FDOT is installing three new pump stations and an underground drainage system.
“Ultimately this project is to improve the drainage in this area. It’s to help mitigate the flooding. It’s to help prevent the high tides from coming back onto the street,” said FDOT spokeswoman Heather Leslie.
The neighborhood is often inundated by rain or even just high tides, as the southwest area is among the lowest-lying land in Miami Beach.
Residents along West Avenue are concerned that the traffic detour will hurt the neighborhood’s pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly feel.
“It’s something really great, like a part of our personality,” said Christine Florez, president and founder of the West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association.
She said that residents would like to see traffic calming measures along West Avenue.
“I got a call from somebody like, ‘The cars are just shooting down, through West Avenue. They are not used to traveling in our neighborhood,” Florez said.
The state project along Alton also includes a makeover of the streets and sidewalks. Alton Road will lose 90 parking spaces.
Work is expected to be complete by summer 2015.