Miami Lakes to widen 154th Street to four lanes

The Miami Lakes Town Council held its inaugural meeting in its new government center on April 23, following a celebration of the building’s opening.

During the meeting, the council gave final approval in a 6-1 vote to expand Northwest 154th Street, also known as Miami Lakes Drive, into a four-lane road.

The ordinance is part of a roadway-improvement partnership between Miami-Dade County and the town in which each party is responsible for a tract of the improvement.

The county’s portion of the project aims to extend Northwest 87th Avenue from the area around Northwest 162nd Street to Miami Lakes Drive.

Meanwhile, Miami Lakes is set to expand Miami Lakes Drive from the Northwest 83rd Avenue area to Northwest 87 Avenue.

The town is also responsible for the installation of sidewalks, new pavement markings and signage, left-turn lanes, and other construction on the roadway.

"We voted to get a loan, make the improvements on 154th Street now, so when 87th Avenue opens up, 154th Street will already be opened up,” Pizzi said.

Although the town is taking out a loan not to exceed $2 million to fund the project, Pizzi said that taxpayers won’t foot the bill for the work.

The town has a development agreement that states that any potential developer must reimburse the town for the loan before starting construction.

“Before we even have to make the first payment, we will be paid back by the developer, it seems to be the smart thing to do,” Pizzi said. “The developer will pay us before the loan even comes due. He can’t even clear the land until he pays all that back.”

He said the project is important because it will allow residents a more direct path to get around town.

Councilman Tony Lama shares those views.

He said some people have felt disconnected in the western part of town because of the lack of easy access to the community.

"Today, if you have an unfortunate situation, if someone has a stroke, heart attack or a fire, heaven forbid, you need the firefighters to go around the town, essentially," Lama said. "This is something the residents have been screaming for for years."