One of Miami-Dade County’s most important thoroughfares, Red Road, is being overhauled from Okeechobee Road to just south of the Gratigny Parkway toll road.
The reconstruction of Red Road, also known as 57th Avenue, involves widening from four to six lanes, adding a concrete median and providing new traffic signals, lighting and landscaping — among other improvements.
The work has proceeded in segments since it began six years ago. Reconstruction is continuing and is expected to be completed in spring 2017.
It is designed to improve traffic flow and safety on the busy avenue used by approximately 32,500 vehicles on an average day, said Ivette Ruiz-Paz, a Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman.
“We hope to reduce congestion with this project, and enhance safety with the median,” she said.
Joan Fabian, FDOT construction manager, said adding the median is the key safety feature.
“Studies have shown that addition of a median does enhance safety,” Fabian said. “Both for vehicles and pedestrians.”
FDOT officials recently provided a comprehensive outline of the $80.6 million project.
The work began in September 2009, with the first segment stretching from Okeechobee Road to West 23rd Street in Hialeah. It was completed in March 2012. The cost for that segment was $14.6 million.
Work on the next segment began in September 2012 from West 23rd Street to West 46th Street, said Ossie Larrazabal, senior project engineer and FDOT consultant.
“Basically, [Red Road in] Hialeah was an undivided road, no median,” Larrazabal said. “They had two lanes each way and the one in the middle was a double turn lane.”
Workers are now adding a concrete median to separate the northbound and southbound lanes — each direction has three lanes, Larrazabal said.
“We expanded the footprint of Red Road,” he said. “We also did a lot of work in the canal. The new lanes and the median were built where the canal used to be. We placed culverts on the canal to keep the canal flow and we redid all of the intersections in the project limits, rebuilt them completely.”
Larrazabal said workers also installed new light poles and replaced traffic lights hanging from span wires with signals on fixed mast arms to prevent them from being blown off during a hurricane.
The cost for the second segment, expected to be completed in January, is almost $24 million, Larrazabal said.
A third segment from West 46th Street to 54th Street, also adding a third lane each way, cost almost $14 million. Construction began in October 2012 and ended in July.
The fourth segment is now underway from West 54th Street to north of 84th Street. Workers also are adding a lane in each direction and a median, along with other safety improvements, said Sergio González, the senior project engineer.
In this segment, FDOT is also installing a water main in conjunction with Miami-Dade Water and Sewer, González said.
“We’re installing 10,000 feet of a new 54-inch water main, the main feed for all of Hialeah” González said.
This segment of the project began Jan. 5 and is expected to be completed in the spring of 2017 at a cost of $42 million. Once this segment is completed the entire project will be finished, González said.
“This is the last piece,” he said.
Alfonso Chardy: 305-376-3435, @AlfonsoChardy