With FDOT now given the green light to move forward with the Signature Bridge project, here is a look at what exactly is being done.
In total, $802 million is being spent – but not all on the bridge itself. The breakdown is:
At the ground level, a 55-acre park known as Heritage Trail will be created. The highway span will be elevated from its current 19 feet to 63 feet at NW 3rd Avenue, allowing more sun to shine down.
Traffic flow on the highways, including on the Dolphin Expressway, will be significantly improved with a complete rebuild adding more capacity and better ramps. Highlights include a viaduct that will allow eastbound drivers on the 836 to bypass the Midtown Interchange altogether, while another lane will be added for those connecting to northbound I-95 – a problem area for decades. Confusing left-hand exits will be eliminated altogether.
While the benefits of burying the highway in an underground tunnel were widely recognized, it was deemed too expensive, disruptive, and risky. The cost would have ballooned by an additional $1.3 billion, bringing total cost to over $2 billion. It would also mean shutting major traffic arteries during construction and permanently eliminating Miami Beach’s evacuation route during storm lockdowns.
The second-ranked team had included MCM, a contractor involved in the FIU bridge disaster. With the bid challenge ended, FDOT is now free to conclude a contract with the top-ranked team and begin work on a project that has been years in the making.