Community, News

Overpass construction progress resumes

Rendering courtesy Miami-Dade County

Rendering courtesy Miami-Dade County

Freshman Bobby DiLorenzo was heading to Shake Shack for lunch with friends in October. As he attempted to cross the intersection of U.S. 1 and Ponce de Leon Boulevard, a Toyota Prius came careening around the corner, knocking him onto the windshield. Before any of the students got a good look at the driver, the vehicle sped off down the busy highway.

While DiLorenzo walked away from the incident unharmed, other UM students have not been as fortunate. Since 1989, three students have been killed while crossing at this intersection. Five others have been critically injured.

In response to this problem, UM’s administration, in collaboration with Student Government (SG), launched a campaign early last year calling for a pedestrian overpass across the intersection of U.S. 1 and Mariposa Court to prevent future accidents. The Miami-Dade County Commission approved the measure in a unanimous vote in July of 2013.

Currently, however, more than six months after the approval of the overpass, the project is still in the planning phases. According to Miami-Dade Transit’s official timeline, construction of the overpass will not begin until March 2015. Plans to build an overpass have been in the works since 2003, but they have been halted repeatedly for various reasons, including budget issues.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier Suarez, who represents District 7 – where UM is located – says the wait to start construction is too long.

“I will not accept waiting a year for this overpass to be built,” said Suarez, who is also the sponsoring commissioner of this legislation.

In a memo to Miami-Dade Transit Director Ysela Llort and Florida Department of Transportation Director Gus Pego, Commissioner Suarez called on government officials to “expedite, fast track, or do whatever it takes” to shorten the gap between completion of the overpass’s design and the beginning of its construction.

“We cannot afford to have another serious accident in this important thoroughfare, which is traversed by thousands of students, teachers and staff,” Suarez said in the memo.

SG President Bhumi Patel was active in the campaign for the overpass. She says the project that she helped to pass is now out of her hands.

“Our role in Student Government was to get the overpass proposal passed,” Patel said. “Now it’s in the hands of Miami-Dade County.”

Despite frustrations, the project is not delayed. Irene Ferradaz, Miami-Dade Transit’s spokesperson, says the project is running right on schedule.

According to Ferradaz, the design of the overpass will be completed by next month. The county must then obtain an aerial easement from the Florida Department of Transportation, granting permission to place the overpass over U.S. 1.

In October, Miami-Dade County will begin accepting bids from contractors. It will take five months to evaluate bids and award a contract, Ferradaz said.

In the meantime, Michael Colombo, a lieutenant in the UM Police Department, stresses that pedestrian safety is “absolutely” a major concern for university officials.

March 23, 2014

Reporters

Oliver Redsten


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday: ▪ UM has only two Rivals.com five-star recruits on the ...

Even five months ago, it would’ve been hard to picture Jaylan Knighton winding up with the Miami Hur ...

UM offensive coordinator Dan Enos on Monday addressed the quarterback situation in this piece, culle ...

University of Florida big man Keith Stone, a 6-8 and 254-pound Deerfield Beach native, is heading cl ...

The Miami Hurricanes are primed to have another nice weekend in the NFL Draft, at least according to ...

At the annual Hug the Lake, sustainability manager Teddy Lhoutellier was honored for improving the e ...

Yvette Soler, B.M. ’96, better known as Tigrilla Gardenia, connects her music engineering background ...

Preservation Week, from April 21 to April 27, is focused on highlighting the importance of learning ...

There are numerous ways to connect with the University of Miami during the two-day tech conference o ...

A symbol of both French heritage and Catholicism, Paris’ 850-year-old gothic cathedral was gutted by ...

The Hurricanes will open an eight-game homestand with a midweek matchup against crosstown FIU on Wed ...

The Canes are ranked for the second consecutive week, cracking the top 25 in two different polls rel ...

Stone played in 85 career games at University of Florida. ...

Come join head coach Manny Diaz and the Miami Hurricanes football program in the brand new Carol Sof ...

The Miami women's tennis team continued its ascent up the national rankings Tuesday, moving up ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.