Florida City plans to enhance traffic conditions on East Palm Drive (SW 344th Street east of US1) with improved traffic flow, better access to commercial businesses and improved aesthetics. The nearly $5 million project will be funded in part by the State of Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program; Miami-Dade County; The State of Florida and Florida City.
The plan is to place a culvert in what is now the Florida City Canal for about 1,500 to 1800 feet running east to SW 172 Avenue. This will make possible the widening of East Palm Drive adding both east and west bound lanes. The culvert will be 12' x 7'. The Florida City Canal is a valuable channel for water draining into Biscayne Bay. Now two 5' culverts flow into the Canal. The project will add other drains into the culvert.
Other enhancements include construction of new curb and gutters for the widened and resurfaced road. Also added will be improved traffic signals, sidewalks, driveways and better lighting.
Bid opening will take place on May 12, 2017 and the estimated 18-month project will begin shortly thereafter.
The Detroit Canal, now Florida City Canal was dug before 1912 by the town's developer Miami Land and Development Company. At its western edge an industrial basin was dug at about where Palm Drive crosses Krome Avenue.
An ice plant and a packing house were constructed on the basin. The canal's primary purpose was probably low cost transportation of goods into the town and transport out of agricultural crops but it also helped drain the East Glade farming area. It could accommodate good sized boats.
The Company constructed a recreation area where the Canal opened into Biscayne Bay. The public was invited to view the plans and question the engineers on the project and voice concerns at a meeting on March 14.
Bob Jensen is a retired Navy Commander and president of the Florida Pioneer Museum and the Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum.