Drivers in Miami Lakes are experiencing more traffic and several cars have crashed near the Northwest 170th Street bridge after it opened Aug. 16.
“Obviously there’s more traffic because before, there was zero traffic coming off the bridge,” Miami-Dade Police Maj. Javier Ruiz said on Aug. 25. “But overall, we haven’t seen on our end too much of an increase.”
The two-lane span crosses Interstate 75 between Miami Lakes on the east side and Hialeah and Miami-Dade County on the west side at Northwest 97th Avenue.
Supporters for opening the bridge wanted to provide a second way out for 6,000 residents in new communities west of I-75.
Opponents feared more cars in neighborhoods near the bridge and through the west side of town from commuters to schools and the Palmetto Expressway.
And Satori resident Bryan Morera says that’s exactly what’s happening.
“Satori has two exits and you’re met with traffic at both [the far west end of Northwest 154th Street or on Northwest 87th Avenue],” Morera said of morning gridlock. “Others say it’s suicidal to try and turn north on 87th Avenue.”
Morera blames the open bridge.
“I’m seeing more cars, even when it’s not during school drop-off times,” he said. “You see the same heavy flow in reverse, traffic coming westbound on 154th [Street] and northbound on 87th [Avenue].
“Our police do a phenomenal job of managing the traffic at [NW 79th Court] and Palmetto Frontage Road along [Northwest] 154th [Street],” Morera said. “Maybe they could add additional patrol cars at 82nd Ave. and possibly even at 87th Ave.”
Drivers are also adapting to new traffic patterns, police said.
“We’ve definitely noticed an increase westbound on Northwest 170th Street in the Palm Springs North area,” said Ruiz.
There have been “a couple of accidents” at the corner of Northwest 89th Avenue, “as people adjust to it,” he said. “Previously no one had to stop there. Now people going southbound on Northwest 89th Avenue have to stop and have to remember to stop. There is a stop sign there.”
As for the center of town, Ruiz said, “We’re still really focusing on 154th Street, which has always been the main corridor that experiences the traffic issues. … And quite frankly, gets the biggest amount of complaints from residents.
“We’re monitoring the times and seeing what we can do to provide for the flow of traffic,” Ruiz said.