At last, agreement to open NW 170th St. bridge is done

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Northwest 170 Street bridge that crosses Interstate 75 and connects Hialeah and Miami Lakes could be open to traffic within weeks.

Without much fanfare, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday between the county, city and town regarding that span and the bridge at Northwest 154th Street.

The memorandum of understanding was signed after years of acrimony and resistance from some town residents and elected officials about access to Miami Lakes from county areas and developments built in Hialeah that are west of I-75.

Hialeah Mayor Esteban Bovo told the county commissioners, “We finally made it happen.”

Miami Lakes Vice Mayor Jeffrey Rodriguez also attended the meeting and said in part, “Now we’re allies, we’re allies in connectivity.”

Opening the bridges may prompt building of on-ramps from Northwest 154th Street to I-75 and on-ramps from Northwest 67th Avenue to the Gratigny Expressway.

Councilmembers Marilyn Ruano and Luis Collazo voted against the memorandum on April 7. 

“This agreement was going to pass with or without my vote,” Ruano said during the council meeting. “So I made every effort I could to make it the best agreement for the Town of Miami Lakes.”

Opening the Northwest 170th Street bridge may be weeks away. Miami Lakes Town Manager Edward Pidermann said Wednesday that by May 27, the town will remove some trees and a bench from the east side of Northwest 170th Street.

The opening date is up to Lennar Corp. and its contractor doing work on the bridge, Pidermann said.

The key terms are:

  • The town will dismiss its 2019 lawsuit against Miami-Dade County, Hialeah, Lennar Corp. and its contractor Downright Engineering over construction on a Miami Lakes section of Northwest 170th Street that the town said was not permitted. 
  • The Northwest 170th Street bridge will not be open for tractor-trailers with five or more axles or dump trucks with three or more axles. Any motor vehicle for moving people; first responders’ vehicles or government trucks or government contractors’ vehicles will be allowed. Trucks carrying cargo or property that travel to the east side of the bridge will have to turn onto Northwest 87th Avenue.
  • The county, through the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization, will make a long-range transportation plan and open the southern span for first responders, pedestrians, electric golf carts, bicycles and scooters. The county will fund improvements to make a single-lane road for first responders; the county will also install and maintain emergency use gates on each side of the bridge.  
  • The county will consider connecting Northwest 97th Avenue to Northwest 186th Street and whether to extend Northwest 170th Street from Northwest 97th Avenue to Florida’s Turnpike. 
  • In nine years, the parties will form a traffic study committee to analyze demand in the areas around the Northwest 154th Street bridge. During the 10th year, the committee would recommend whether to open it.  The nine-member committee will be comprised from residents of the town, Hialeah and the county and a ninth person appointed by them. The committee members will be traffic planning and engineering professionals; none may be elected officials when chosen.
  • If on-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 committee could by majority vote also decide to open the southern span, and the municipalities shall cooperate with that plan.
  • The county will fund and build green trails that may include areas for walking and bicycling, with landscaping and benches on both sides of the Northwest 154th Street bridge and the municipalities will maintain them.
  • 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.