Years of controversy, years of congestion: I-395 Miami bridge/highway project gets under-way

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i395 design build bridge
The I-395/SR 836/I-95 design-build project (FDOT)

Work has started on an $802 million Miami “signature bridge” and highway project, including reconstruction of portions of Interstate 395, Interstate 95 and State Road 836.

The four year project, to be completed under a Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) design-build contract with joint venture Archer Western-de Mova Group (AWD) has been described as the “mother of all projects” and will likely cause congestion headaches because f the project’s central location, feeding downtown Miami, the city’s Civic Centre district and Miami Beach.

Workers have started driving test piles along I-395, and night road survey work is under-way, the Miami Herald reports.

The project includes double-decking a portion of the SR836 road connecting to I-395. Workers will also add an I-95 auxiliary lane, construct a new connector ramp to SR836 and replace concrete pavement.

The I-395 portion includes the six-arch bridge, while the area under I-395 will be transformed into a lush community space with a market plaza, amphitheater, children’s play area, community garden, trail and pedestrian bridge, dog park and interactive water fountain.

The FDOT selected AWD’s proposal over one submitted by a Fluor Corp.-led joint venture.  The bidding and design process ended up in court, where a judge in May ruled that AWD should be able to build the project.

A local panel had selected the Fluor design in place of AWD’s and critics of the AWD award said the panel’s choice was not given enough weight by the FDOT in its decision-making process.

The Fluor team withdrew its formal protest a week after the judge’ decision. It included Munilla Construction Management and FIGG Bridge Group, which are both at the center of the investigation into the Florida International University (FIU) bridge collapse.  However, there is no indication that the collapse played into Flour’s decision to withdraw its protest.

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