New Year’s predictions from the Florida Department of Transportation:
The widening of Interstate 75 in southwest Broward County and Interstate 95 north of Palm Beach Gardens will be completed.
A new four-lane bridge carrying Dixie Highway over the Hillsboro Canal and the Florida East Coast Railway tracks will open this summer.
And work will get underway to replace the 74-year-old Flagler Memorial Bridge, the northernmost of the three spans connecting West Palm Beach and the town of Palm Beach.
Those are a few of the highlights of $170 million in road construction projects in Broward and Palm Beach counties the state hopes to finish or start in 2012.
There’s also the recently started extension of the I-95 express lanes from the Golden Glades interchange to Broward Boulevard. That includes major improvements to relieve backups onto southbound I-95 at Ives Dairy Road.
And there’s the biggest job in the state, the ongoing $1.8 billion reconstruction of I-595, entering its third year.
Last year saw the completion of State Road 84’s missing westbound stretch between S.R. 7 and Davie Road. By the end of 2012, the eastbound stretch will be completed, “collecting” I-595 drivers headed for Florida’s Turnpike and S.R. 7 and separating them from traffic on I-595.
“This is a major milestone,” said I-595 construction spokeswoman Laila Haddad.
In Fort Lauderdale, the I-95 bridges over the South Fork of the New River will get a $19.3 million facelift beginning in July. The spans will be repainted and all expansion joints replaced. Construction is expected to take about a year.
The improvements won’t be limited to building or widening roads and bridges. Technology aimed at helping drivers avoid traffic jams will get a big boost.
Starting in May, about 35 traffic cameras and 11 message signs will be installed on portions of State Road 7, University Drive and Broward, Sunrise and Oakland Park boulevards. The system is expected to be running in late 2013.
Electronic signs and cameras also will go up along U.S. 27 from Griffin Road to South Bay.
On Florida’s Turnpike, workers will wrap up the demolition of all toll plazas on the Homestead Extension in early 2012. Later in the year, the “cashless” concept will expand into Broward County, from the Golden Glades toll plaza to I-595.
Riders on the popular 95 Express buses from Pembroke Pines to downtown Miami, will see 50 more parking spots at C.B. Smith Park’s park-and-ride lot. Construction will start in March and be finished in June.
In Palm Beach County, construction on the Flagler Memorial Bridge is scheduled to begin in February.
The new span will be built on the south side of the existing bridge, which will remain open during construction. The $94.2 million project includes replacing the Flagler Drive overpass with a ground-level intersection.
The new bridge should be completed in the winter of 2014.
Other coming attractions:
West of Boca Raton, Glades Road will be resurfaced from Boca Lake Drive to Florida’s Turnpike. Work should begin in May or June.
In Riviera Beach, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, also known as State Road 710 and the Bee Line Highway, will be widened from two to four lanes from Congress Avenue to Australian Avenue. Work should begin in July or August and take two years to complete.
Meanwhile, say goodbye to:
U.S. 1 construction between Young Circle and Sheridan Street in Hollywood. Work should finish in the spring. In Fort Lauderdale, work along U.S. 1 between the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel and Southeast 17th Street should wrap up in the summer.
Flamingo Road reconstruction between Pines Boulevard in Pembroke Pines to Griffin Road in Cooper City. Workers replacing asphalt and adding sidewalks on the west side of Flamingo are due to finish early this year.
Work should be completed by summer to widen I-75 between Miramar Parkway and the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike and to modify the Miramar Parkway interchange.
I-75 drivers won’t get too much of a break: In August, a $2.3 million job to modify the Griffin Road interchange is set to start in August.
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