Council signs bridge agreement, awaits county, Hialeah responses

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Wednesday, April 13, 2022

     In a split vote, the Miami Lakes town council approved a tentative deal with the city of Hialeah and Miami-Dade County to open to traffic the Northwest 170th Street bridge that crosses Interstate 75.

     The county and Hialeah will have to sign the legal agreement by June 15. 

     The town approved it on April 6.

     Mayor Manny Cid, Vice Mayor Jeffrey Rodriguez and Councilmembers Joshua Diegez and Tony Fernandez voted in favor of the deal. 

     Councilmembers Marilyn Ruano and Luis Collazo voted against it. 

     Councilman Carlos Alvarez was absent. As principal of a Hialeah charter school whose board is comprised of Hialeah city councilmembers, he has a conflict of interest in the bridges dispute and abstained from voting on the issue.

     Key points in the agreement are:

--The town will dismiss its 2019 lawsuit against Miami-Dade County, Hialeah, Lennar Corp. and its contractor Downright Engineering over construction on a section of Northwest 170th Street that the town said was not permitted. 

--The town will not object to opening the northern span, but it will not be open to “heavy trucks, tractor-trailers; semi-trucks and hauling trucks” that weigh over 24,000 pounds, the agreement states.  The weight restriction for such vehicles would apply to the bridge at Northwest 154th Street if that is opened.

--The county will make a long range transportation plan to open the southern span for first responders, pedestrians, bicyclists and scooter riders. The county and the Transportation Planning Organization will make road improvements and install emergency gates on both sides of the bridge.

--In nine years, the parties will form a traffic study committee to analyze demand in the areas around the Northwest 154th Street bridge. The committee would recommend whether to open it after a decade. 

--The town is seeking the following improvements to be built by the county:  Connect Northwest 97th Avenue to Northwest 186th Street; add two left hand turn lanes on Northwest 87th Avenue onto Northwest 186th Street and extend Northwest 170th Street from Northwest 97th Avenue to Florida’s Turnpike. 

--If ramps are built from Northwest 154th Street onto I-75, then the traffic study committee will not be convened or will be dissolved and the bridge will be opened.

--The county will build a green trail on the Miami Lakes side of the Northwest 154th Street bridge and the town will maintain it.

--The Jakey Duque statue erected in memory of a child who died from a rare cancer may be moved because of traffic needs.

--The parties will lobby state and federal officials to fund construction of ramps onto The Gratigny Parkway at Northwest 67th Avenue.

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