Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace is concerned that people in the area misunderstand what is happening with Palm Drive’s culverting project.
The joint Florida City/Miami-Dade County improvement costing $6 million total has each partner contributing half. The project started late with approvals coming from FDOT in Tallahassee before the County began construction.
“With school starting, there may be the expectation this intersection will be done soon,” said Mayor Wallace. “But it will take a long time. You have to tear up the entire roadbed as well as covering the existing canal. The plan is to
finish one year from now.”
The Mayor explained that the covered canal pipes connect to existing culverts running through Florida City from Sixth Avenue at Roberts Road. No pumping is needed. “The water flows naturally to the Bay, it always has,” said the Mayor.
“You can’t widen that road in the normal way,” he continued. “The County doesn’t own any more right-of-way to the north or south. Covering the canal was the only option.”
Ultimately, motorists traveling west on Palm Drive will face five lanes at U.S.1. Two right hand lanes will turn right onto US1, two left hand lanes will turn left onto US1 and a middle lane will share access across the highway onto Palm Drive into Florida City.
“It will be a much better traffic flow,” said Mayor Wallace. “It’s designed to be
compatible with the FDOT widening project along US1.”
The FDOT project is to start in February 2021 and last for fourteen months. When completed, cars will turn right off US1 onto Palm Drive in a dedicated lane. This third lane of east Palm Drive will access local businesses before merging back into the existing two lanes of the road.
Mayor Wallace provided a rendering of the “After” picture for this intersection showing the covered canal and the full eight operating lanes of Palm Drive.
“The public should understand the project’s scope and the time it will take to complete this major traffic improvement.”