State transportation officials are studying the possibility of building a $45-million four-lane overpass above a small stretch of Southwest Eighth Street in west Miami-Dade County.
The plan, outlined Friday during a meeting at County Hall in downtown Miami, is partly designed to ease congestion at the intersection of 87th Avenue where traffic builds up as drivers seek to turn north of south on the heavily traveled thoroughfare.
The road, 87th Avenue, has become congested because it carries an increasing number of commuters and cargo trucks to and from Kendall in southwest Miami-Dade and the office and warehouse hubs of Doral. It also provides connections to State Road 836, the east-west Dolphin Expressway.
“The purpose of the project is to improve overall traffic operations at the existing intersection of State Road 90/SW 8th Street and SR 973/SW 87th Avenue in order to alleviate congestion and achieve acceptable levels of service in the existing and future condition,” according to an FDOT project flyer.
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Miami-Dade Commissioners Rebeca Sosa and Esteban Bovo expressed concerns about the project on the grounds that it would draw more traffic, not mitigate congestion.
“More roads is not the answer to traffic congestion,” Sosa told officials of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), who detailed the overpass project during the meeting with the commissioners. “I will not support anything if it’s just more roads, more cement, because it will just bring more cars.”
Bovo echoed Sosa’s sentiments.
“If we continue to expand and build roads, this is not what we want,” said Bovo. “We want to encourage people to leave their cars at home.”
Both commissioners said FDOT should also study transit options, such trolley services or dedicated lanes for express buses. The FDOT officials who were at the meeting agreed to do so.
The opinions of Sosa and Bovo carry weight in transportation circles because they are both in key positions. The project is within Sosa’s district and Bovo is chairman of the commission’s transit and mobility services committee. Both also sit on the Metropolitan Planning Organization, which oversees local transportation projects.
As for the overpass option, it would be built in the median of the Southwest Eighth Street along a stretch from 89th Avenue to 84th Avenue. It would contain four lanes, two in each direction. Eighth Street in that area has between eight and six lanes.
For now, the project is in the study stage to determine its feasibility and a preferred alternative. No construction date has been set.