Delayed ‘signature bridge’ project in Miami delayed again — to late 2027
Image via FDOT.

Signature bridge - FDOT
Supply chain issues, unfavorable weather and ‘holidays’ have caused the new delays, state transportation officials say.

A repeatedly delayed project to double-deck a portion of the Dolphin Expressway and erect a “signature bridge” flourish over Interstate 395 in Miami has now encountered even more setbacks.

The project, which was expected to top off this year when shovels first hit dirt back in April 2019, is now expected to reach completion in late 2027 at a cost $38 million more than originally estimated.

Cynthia Turcios, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) branch spanning Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, said “supply chain issues, among other factors, including weather and holidays” caused the new delays.

“The Department works in partnership with contractors, suppliers and planners, which allows us to stay in tune with potential and trending concerns,” she told Florida Politics by email Thursday. “Together, we are able to work through circumstances and coordinate innovative solutions that help us all reach the shared goal of successfully delivering projects to the traveling public.”

As its name suggests, the I-395/SR 836/I-95 Design-Build Project consists of three main components.

There’s the “signature bridge” portion, which involves building six sweeping arches resembling a fountain — or “high-tech tarantula,” depending on whom you ask — spanning 1,025 feet over I-395 by Northeast Second Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard. That portion of the project, which also includes a “complete reconstruct” of the highway to improve capacity with three through lanes in each direction, costs $587 million.

A rendering of the double-decker “Viaduct” being constructed over the Dolphin Expressway (SR 836). Image via FDOT.

Workers from Archer Western — de Moya Joint Venture, the project contractor, are also building an upper deck of traffic over the Dolphin Expressway (SR 836) and the Miami River transportation officials tentatively named the Viaduct ahead of construction in 2018. Once finished, it will connect motorists to the MacArthur Causeway and enable easier transfers to and from Interstate 95.

Funding for that piece comes from a $244 million set aside from the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, the local agency that oversees five tollways, including SR 386, across the county.

Finally, an additional SR 836 lane to northbound I-95, connector ramp from southbound I-95 to SR 836 and various other improvements to I-95 are also in the works.

The overall cost of the three-piece project is now $840 million, up from the $802 million price tag local and state transportation officials attached to it more than five years ago.

As Miami Today reported this week, traffic on eastbound SR 836 was recently shifted from Northwest 12th Avenue to I-95 to allow workers to begin constructing foundations for the new double-decked roadway.

Motorists in the area have long seen piles — upright support posts for overpassing bridges and roadways — rising beside the Dolphin Expressway as they approach and depart Miami near the Marlins ballpark. The piles will ultimately support the upper deck of the viaduct.

Meanwhile, four of the six main bridge spouts and nearly half of the 345 arch segments for the bridge have been cast, according to Miami Today.

Plans remain for a 33-acre urban park below I-395 called the “Underdeck” upon the project’s conclusion, though funding is pending.

The I-395/SR 836/I-95 Design-Build Project is more than three decades in the making. It was conceived in the 1990s, after which it underwent myriad changes and studies including roughly 150 public presentations just between 2004 and 2009.

The contractor, Archer Western-de Moya, is composed of Atlanta-based construction company Archer Western Construction, a subsidiary of the Walsh Group; and the de Moya Group, a Miami highway and bridge builder specializing in complex infrastructure projects in Florida.

Engineering companies HDR of Omaha, Jacksonville-based RS&H, Miami-headquartered Metric Engineering and Tallahassee-based Corven Engineering are also involved.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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