Miami Gardens Drive Job Focal Point of New City

Wed April 13, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

Just more than a year after it began, three separate but related reconstruction projects in the 2-year-old city of Miami Gardens, FL, are progressing nicely toward completion.

They represent the final phase of a comprehensive plan designed to improve traffic flow and safety along Miami Gardens Drive. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) launched the projects in February 2004.

The work includes Miami Gardens Drive from NW 28th Place to NW 2nd Avenue, and is expected to last approximately two years at an estimated cost of $20 million.

Two earlier related projects were completed in December 2002. These jobs involved the reconstruction of Miami Gardens Drive and the access roads that run parallel to it.

A new sewer force main is being installed in accordance with a Joint Partnering Agreement between FDOT and Miami-Dade County, and other work includes new concrete medians and traffic separators, new sidewalks, traffic signals, street lights and new landscaping in the median and swale areas.

One contract involves Miami Gardens Drive from NW 28th Place to NW 14th Avenue, and a second covers NW 14th Avenue to NW 2nd Avenue. Included in this contract is the removal and replacement of both the northbound and southbound turnpike bridges over Miami Gardens Drive. The projects are being handled concurrently, and work was planned to minimize impacts to area residents, businesses and the motoring public.

However, some lane closures have been necessary. The projects are managed by Enrique J. Tamayo, of GBF Engineering Inc.

“This project is very large scale with multiple phases,” he noted. “It is unique due to extensive coordination between many stakeholders, but everyone is working hard to make this a focal point of this new city. Hopefully the benefactors [i.e. residents, business owners] will enjoy the final product and be proud of the improvements.”

Tamayo noted that one challenge involves the coordination of three projects with two contractors. In addition, the area, near Dolphins Stadium, involves heavy traffic congestion since in is the main east-west corridor for the new city. Extensive residential and business areas are also involved, as well as five schools in the immediate vicinity.

Besides coordinating contractors, Tamayo stated that multiple agencies and jurisdictions must be coordinated as well. In addition, extensive utility relocation and coordination has been necessary.

The first project, covering NW 28th Place to NW 14th Avenue, began Feb. 2, 2004, and completion is expected by June. The total cost, covered by the state, is estimated at $8.6 million. The project was awarded to M. Vila & Associates Inc., and is reportedly on schedule at this time. Work includes widening the road from four to six lanes, milling and resurfacing the asphalt roadway, sanitary sewer installation, concrete sidewalks, lighting, signalization, landscaping, signs and pavement markings.

“Overall, this project is very similar to others that we’ve worked on,” said Tony Perez, of M. Vila & Associates. “It does involve much required utility relocation and coordination of work with other groups such as city of North Miami Beach, BellSouth and others.”

The total length of the project is 1.47 miles. A total of 28,668 cubic yards of excavation is involved, as well as 15,998 tons of asphalt.

Major subcontractors include MasTec, lighting, signalization, and signage; APAC, asphalt paving; NES, striping and barricades; Petro-Hydro, sanitary; Homestead Paving, concrete work; and Vila & Sons, landscaping.

Equipment used on this project includes several Caterpillar 938F front-end loaders, Caterpillar 416 backhoes, a Case 590 combination loader/backhoe, Caterpillar CB214D steel-drum rollers and 135 Bobcats.

The second project, involving Miami Gardens Drive from NW 14th Avenue to NW 2nd Avenue and Florida’s Turnpike over Miami Gardens Drive, began Feb. 16, 2004, and is on schedule for an expected completion date of Aug. 8. The total cost for this portion, which also is state-funded, is $12.9 million.

The de Moya Group Inc. is the prime contractor for this project. Work includes widening the road from four to six lanes, milling and resurfacing the asphalt roadway, sanitary sewer installation, concrete sidewalks, lighting, signalization, landscaping, signs and pavement markings.

In addition, the existing three-span steel Turnpike bridge over Miami Garden Drive will be replaced with a new two-span steel bridge with retaining walls.

Major subcontractors for this job include MasTec, lighting, signalization, signs; Brewer Asphalt, asphalt paving; Bob’s Barricades, barricades; NES, striping; State Site, sanitary; Hahn, drainage; Pro-Turf, landscaping; and S & S Contracting, concrete work.

Equipment used on this project includes an American 5530 crane, a Caterpillar 325 front end loader, a Caterpillar IT28G front end loader, a Komatsu 250 front end loader, Caterpillar 416D backhoes, a Caterpillar combination loader/backhoe; Caterpillar 330 vibratory rollers and a Gradall.

The Miami Gardens section of this project covers 1.26 mi. (2 km), while the length of the Turnpike project is .31 mi. (.5 km). The bridge length is 179 ft. (54.6 m), and it involves 618 cu. yds. (472 cu m) of bridge deck concrete and 63 tons (57 t) of bridge deck reinforcement steel. A total of 21,498 cu. yds. (16,436 cu m) of excavation and 19,240 tons (17,454 t) of asphalt is involved.