Krome Ave widening reaches the outskirts of Homestead - South Dade News Leader: Community News | South Dade News Leader | Miami Dade County

Krome Ave widening reaches the outskirts of Homestead

By Larry Diehl | Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019 9:20 am

Widening Krome Avenue to four lanes was a controversial highway project under discussion before 1985 when it was added to County master plans.

Highway #997, Krome Avenue, forms the western edge of Miami’s imagination because it’s outside the County’s Urban Development Boundary (UDB). The reality is there are many homes and businesses further west of Krome in a largely rural landscape.

Modernizing Krome Avenue to a four-lane highway with median, established intersections, and set curbing is already happening.

Northern Krome Avenue was widened to four lanes between Tamiami Trail (Route 41) and Okeechobee Road (Route 27) between 2015 and 2017. Five project sections for the fourteen mile section cost a total of $82.1 million or about $5.9 million per mile.

Beyond new twelve foot traffic lanes in each direction, FDOT built forty foot medians with road dividers, installed guardrails, drainage systems, enhanced lighting, and reconfigured the roadway and its shoulders.

The southern end of Krome Avenue from Tamiami Trail to Homestead is to get the same treatment.

That stretch already has two completed sections. Work from Kendall Drive (88th Street) north to Tamiami began in February 2015 and finished November of 2018. That seven mile section cost about $59 million or $8.5 million per mile.

From Kendall Drive south to SW 136th Street, the four-lane project was completed in late in 2018 at a cost of $33 million or about $9.4 million per mile - although Google maps shows it still under construction.

The widening impact will reach Homestead this year. The last segment of Krome Highway, from SW 232th Street/Silver Palm Drive to SW 296th Street/Avocado Drive, is set to break ground in November 2019. A truck bypass planned for Campbell Drive also is to begin in November.

FDOT estimates the 232nd to 296th roadwork should cost $34.387 million. This section included replacement of the C-103 Canal known as Mowry Bridge. Project details include “modifying access to various entrances to enhance safety along the corridor”.

The most recent Krome Avenue construction began in January 2019. The plans are to four-lane the road down to SW 184th Street and then extend it from there to SW 232nd Street.

The first section is due for completion by April 2020 at an approximate cost of $37.8 for the 3.1 mile stretch. The last section is estimated to be finished by June of 2022 at a cost of about $22.5 million.

“I think the project is good for everyone because of safety,” said Peter Schnebly of Schnebly Redland’s Winery. “There are a lot of accidents on Krome Avenue.”

“It doesn’t affect me now as they’re working on the east side,” said Robbie Addison of Robbie’s Feed & Supply. “Once they move to my side it will impact us. They say it’s to take a year but it’s always longer. It will be a beautiful road once they’re done.”

Robbie’s has been at 223rd Street and Krome Avenue for twenty years. The OK Feed Store at 22801 Krome on the east side was forced to close when the widening project took thirty percent of its road frontage. (SEE News Leader August 3, 2018) One issue raising local opposition was the position of Krome’s intersections. Access to the highway is restricted due to curbing and safety issues. The established crossroads require wider intersections so tractor trailers are able to make U-turns to change direction. Separated by the median, business access is limited to north/south traffic on the same side of the highway except through intersections.

Current major Krome Avenue intersections likely to remain on the new highway are 232nd (Silver Palm), 248th (Coconut Palm), 264th (Bauer), 288th (Biscayne) and 296th (Avocado).

Homestead also will see construction begin on the long-awaited Truck Bypass Route.

The project announced in December of 2013 widens Campbell Drive from Krome Avenue to US1 to take truck traffic away from downtown Homestead.

That work is planned to begin in September 2019 and at an estimated budget of $15 million. It includes two sub-projects set to begin in December 2019 – widening Davis Parkway for $4.4 million and adding turning lanes to Palm Drive for $760,253.

Expanding Krome Avenue would seem likely to encourage a developed commercial corridor.

But the land along Krome Avenue is in large measure zoned agricultural. Only a few lots clustered at major intersections are zoned for businesses or one-acre residences. Those designations were grandfathered into the County’s 1975 land use plan.

The UDB was established for the County’s 1975 land-use map, restricting development outside the boundary to protect water rights and the environment. The UDB was incorporated into the county’s comprehensive development master plan in 1983.

Establishing new businesses and residences along this improved highway is a long-term venture requiring extensive County zoning changes.