Artists love a blank sheet of paper because of the possibilities it offers. In that same spirit, I hope that 2013 provides all of us the opportunities that you and I have struggled toward through the difficulties of the past few years. Obviously, we all are still juggling finances and priorities, but budding signs of a slow recovery are emerging. Part of that can be seen in the County’s numerous public service projects designed to improve your quality of life – some of which we’ll tell you about here. I look forward to all of us working together in 2013, not just to persevere, but to prevail.
The End Is In Sight For I-595
An end to the madness driving on Interstate 595 is not only in sight, but may even arrive three months early, the contractor says. Drivers have struggled to cope with the overhaul to create reversible pay lanes and make exits safer since the summer of 2010. Ever-changing traffic patterns challenge motorists to remember where their exit is located each month and makes it difficult to safely negotiate twisting ramps.
But the contractor now hopes to have the free lanes clear of most construction by the end of this year. Work in the toll lanes may take several more months into 2014, but that work will be concentrated inside what is now the median and is not expected to hold up traffic significantly.
Still, motorists must stay alert in the next few weeks as even more work occurs on exits and entrances. Specifically:
- Eastbound traffic will be shifted east of Davie Road as drivers near the Turnpike exits.
- The eastbound ramp off I-595 toward the Turnpike and the new ramp for southbound Turnpike traffic will be joined. The old ramp over the Turnpike will be collapsed and removed.
- The westbound on-ramp from State Road 84, now located west of Flamingo Road, will close for a month while a new off-ramp to 136th Avenue is built there.
Breaking Open A Bottleneck
In other good news about roadway work, the County has completed about 30 percent of the project to widen Palm Avenue in Cooper City and the work should be finished by December. For years, Palm Avenue (also known as S.W. 100th Avenue) caused traffic bottlenecks between Griffin and Stirling Roads as it shrunk from four lanes to two lanes, and then expanded back to four.
South Runway Work Takes Off At The Airport
A huge mound of earth is rising, 12 tunnels are being created and traffic is being rerouted as construction crews remain on schedule building the 8,000-foot elevated South Runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The target date for completing the primary work is September 2014.
Workers have completed the largest tunnel’s foundations and walls, have opened the new 10th Street as far as Seventh Avenue, and removed the tarmac from the old south runway to be used later in the new runway.
Also visible east of Federal Highway is the beginning of a retaining wall that will hold 7 million cubic yards of fill that will support the runway, currently growing about one foot every two weeks. The tallest and eastern-most section will eventually rise 65 feet.
County and construction crews are trying to minimize dirt flying into the neighborhoods by using street sweepers and water trucks to dampen the sites and reduce the dust during the dry winter months.
Making Flying A Little Bit Easier
If the runway should make travel easier in the long run, agencies are trying to make it easier in the short run as well. Air travel has become increasingly challenging over the last 12 years, especially for passengers with disabilities and medical conditions as well as the elderly in general. But the County’s Aviation Department and the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have joined together to make the experience a little smoother with a series of programs. Those efforts will be discussed by TSA employees at a public meeting from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 6, at the Hollywood Branch Library located at 2600 Hollywood Blvd.
Among the topics will be how to use the new TSA Cares Help Line 855-787-2227, which advises passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other unusual circumstances. The Help Line will answer questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at security checkpoints.
Those interested in attending should RSVP immediately to Linda Merrill, Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator, Broward County Aviation Department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 954-359-1030.
More Ways to Commute
One of the County’s most popular innovations has been the 95 Express bus service from Broward to Miami. Already the overwhelming response to the routes originating in Pembroke Pines and Miramar has prompted the addition in early January of a new route based in Hollywood.
The new route departs from the Pembroke Commons Shopping Center at University Drive and Pines Boulevard. It travels to Hollywood Hills Shopping Plaza, located at Park Road and Hollywood Boulevard. Then it travels to the Miami Civic Center and downtown Miami. Eventually, service will be extended further east to Southeast First Avenue in Miami.
This route joins the already established routes from Miramar Town Center to the Miami Civic Center, from C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines to downtown Miami and from the BB&T Center in Sunrise to downtown Fort Lauderdale. All provide free parking at the Broward bus stops.
Information on schedules, fares and bus passes can be found online at broward.org/bct. Passes may also be purchased at the Main Bus Terminal, the Miramar Branch Library and Education Center, Pembroke Pines/Walter C. Young Resource Center, South Regional/Broward College Library, Southwest Regional Library and Sunrise Dan Pearl Branch Library.
For more detailed information, visit broward.org/bct or call 954-357-8400 (TTY: 954-357-8302).
Please welcome Sandy Yeager as a part-time aide, working on meeting agenda issues. Scott Medvin completed his master’s degree and has taken a job in the human services department. We wish him well and thank him for all his service.