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Just to distinguish between the two, this is for roads, airports, shipping etc. There's certainly enough changes out there to warrant it.

Here's a couple to get it started.

There are big traffic problems in this area and this viaduct will go a long way towards improving the movement of not only people but of goods to the airport. Why not a train though?


Viaduct to ease cargo traffic

A truck skybridge along a traffic-choked road will provide a major boost to cargo haulers using Miami International Airport and to future warehouse development west of the turnpike.


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A typical midday trek along Northwest 25th Street from Doral to the westside ''cargo city'' at Miami International Airport is a tooth- and gear-grinding nightmare.

More than 48,200 vehicles a day use 25th Street -- an estimated 20 percent of them trucks and tractor-trailers, compared with 3 percent to 5 percent on typical state or local commercial roads.

Thanks to some creative financing and legislative maneuvering, the Florida Department of Transportation is preparing to spend upward of $100 million to construct an exclusive skybridge for the trucks that will provide a huge boost for area cargo haulers.

The Federal Aviation Administration still has to sign off on the project. If contractors are selected by late summer and groundbreaking starts in January, as currently planned, the viaduct could be open in late summer or early fall of 2009.

''I'm very excited about the viaduct,'' Transportation Secretary Jos

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A lot of what-ifs in this article, but it'd be great for the airport and miami's trade if these came to pass.


Miami may be in line for more African-bound flights


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Miami will have air service to South Africa before the end of next year, and maybe even to Kenya and Nigeria, if years of courting airlines from the African continent pay off.

Miguel Southwell, Miami-Dade Aviation Department's assistant director of business development, just returned from 10 days in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria -- his second trip to the region in two years. During the visit, a South African carrier that asked not to be named yet committed to beginning four weekly flights to Cape Town, South Africa by the end of 2006, Southwell said.

''Miami has the same geographical and logistical advantage with Africa as it does with Latin America and the Caribbean,'' he said. ``It's the first U.S. airport you get to.''

During his trip, Southwell met with airline planning directors, as well as airport, tourism and government officials, travel agents and shippers about the proposed service.

South African Airways flew from Miami to Cape Town from 1992 to 1999, while it shared an alliance with American Airlines. But it changed alliance partners to Delta Air Lines in January 2000, and moved its flights to Atlanta.

Connections through Atlanta, as well as at New York's JFK airport are working out well, said Roberto Cuesta, South African Airways' Fort Lauderdale-based vice president of marketing for North America.

''We have spoken to Miami, but it's no different than speaking to any other airport in the U.S.,'' Cuesta said. ``We will be flying out of Washington [D.C.] by the end of this year, but we have no plans to fly to Miami at this time.''


In addition to South African Airways, other South African carriers, including Nationwide Airlines and Interair South Africa, have gained international flying rights since 2003.

Privately owned Nationwide established domestic scheduled service in 1995, and now has a 10 percent share of the South African market, according to its website.

The airline flies 250 flights a week to 10 domestic, regional and international destinations, including London, but currently doesn't fly to any city in North or South America.

Ronnie Harris, Nationwide's U.S. representative, was traveling in South Africa, and unavailable for comment. Another Nationwide executive reached in Johannesburg said he did not know whether the airline was interested in flying to Miami.

Interair South Africa is also privately owned and flies to various countries in Africa as well as to Indian Ocean islands, according to its website.

The bilateral agreement between the United States and South Africa allows 21 outbound flights each week for airlines from each nation. Currently, South African Airways has 14 a week, split between Atlanta and JFK. That leaves seven available for another South African carrier.

The unnamed airline that plans service has to apply for the route and add a plane before it can begin flights from Miami, Southwell said.

''They have expressed an interest in coming by the end of 2006,'' he said. ``My job is to accelerate that.''


Southwell said he has no doubt that demand for the flights exists, based on research by aviation consultants SH&E.

The airport had also talked to American Airlines about linking Miami to Africa. ''An interest has been shown,'' Southwell said of American, ``and we are planning to continue that dialogue.''

But American spokeswoman Martha Pant

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Why not a train though?

You'd need a really long embankment for the trains to make the climb. In the process it would cut off all the local streets and make traffic worse. It's easier to elevate the roads.

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All I can say is, it's about time. Having exposed canals next to a roadway is absurd, and I can't believe that FDOT would have ever allowed this road to be built like this.


Posted on Thu, Mar. 03, 2005


State plans barriers for turnpike safety

Barriers soon will be going up on Florida's top toll road. Officials hope the barriers will stem the swell of canal crashes and driver deaths.


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In a move to significantly improve safety on the state's busiest toll road, Florida Turnpike officials plan to erect 280 miles of barriers to prevent cars from hurtling into canals.

Last year, 59 cars plunged into canals along the turnpike, killing 10 people, said Chris Warren, chief operating officer of the 449-mile turnpike system.

The $30 million construction project will begin in July with 18 miles of barriers on the Homestead extension of the turnpike in Miami-Dade County. At about the same time, crews will go to work on 58 miles in Palm Beach and 37 in St. Lucie County. The first three counties to get the barriers have had the highest number of canal crashes. From 1999 through 2004, Miami-Dade had 32 canal crashes, Palm Beach County had 65 and St. Lucie County had 16.


There are 50 separate segments of exposed canals in those three counties, Warren said. Broward County already has turnpike widening projects that include canal barriers and canal fill-ins in some cases, he said.

That leaves about 15 miles of unprotected canals on the Sawgrass Expressway. The second phase of construction will begin when the other three counties are finished.

In 2004, three children from a Broward County church were killed when their bus went into a canal after a crash near the Broward-Palm Beach county line.


There have been other canal tragedies. In April 2003, five women who worked together in Broward were on their way home to Kendall and died after their car was in a collision and plunged into a canal as they drove south on the turnpike northeast of Interstate 75.

In April 1987, a Georgia truck driver, his wife and their two small children drowned when their new tractor-trailer rig went into a canal along the turnpike just north of the Palm Beach-Broward County line.

From 1999 through 2004, there have been 164 canal crashes on the entire turnpike, 15 of which were fatal, killing 24 people, Warren said.

''Our traffic count has more than doubled since 1996 to just over 100,000 a day in South Florida, and the number of canal crashes has gone up, too,'' Warren said.

The barriers will go in where canals are at least three feet deep. In most places the barriers will likely be made of steel wire, Warren said, although the final design has not yet been set.

Under state regulations, there has to be a protective barrier any place where the edge of the canal is 60 feet or closer to the edge of the roadway.

A 2004 study showed that, with the exception of southern Palm Beach County, all the canals were more than 60 feet away, Warren said, but most distances were less than 75 feet.


The turnpike is nearing completion of another major safety project: Guardrails on narrow medians to keep cars from crossing over and slamming head-on into traffic.

Most of that 165-mile, $65-million-plus project will be done by the end of this month.

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Posted on Thu, Mar. 17, 2005


HOV rule changes may not be too bad

Controversial rules for High Occupancy Vehicles -- and hybrids -- on I-95 will change nowhere near as painfully as the state originally prescribed.


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In a reversal that will affect hundreds of thousands of Interstate 95 commuters, state officials late Wednesday significantly scaled back wildly unpopular High Occupancy Vehicle rules slated to go into effect July 1.

The Florida Department of Transportation originally planned on transforming the I-95 HOV lanes into a 24-hour, seven-day operation, in both directions, between the Golden Glades and the Airport Expressway interchanges.

But following several attacks from angry commuters and elected leaders, local FDOT Secretary Johnny Martinez decided the new HOV rules in Miami-Dade will mirror expanded hours slated to go into effect on July 1 in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

From Monday through Friday, the morning HOV-lane rush restrictions, currently enforced between 7 and 9, will expand one hour on both sides, to 6-to-10.

The evening rush restrictions, currently enforced between 4 and 6, will also expand one hour on each side, to 3-to-7.

Solo motorists may use the lanes outside those hours.

The other major difference in Miami-Dade: the HOV rules will be in force in both directions, morning and evening.

Drivers of recognized hybrid technology cars are the only solo drivers permitted in the HOV lanes during restricted hours.

''Eventually, we may transition to 24/7, but right now we're going to be consistent with Broward County and that will entail, of course, expanding the current hours,'' said FDOT spokesman Brian Rick.


The move comes weeks after county commissioners lambasted FDOT's plans -- in part because they did not match enforcement rules in Broward -- and refused to rubber-stamp a $300,000 public education advertising campaign for the new HOV rules.

Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, chair of the commission's transportation committee, praised FDOT officials for reconsidering the plan.

Gimenez said Wednesday that separate county-by-county HOV rules would have created serious confusion with the driving public.

''We just wanted some consistency, from county to county,'' Gimenez said.

Commissioner Sally Heyman, whose district covers a large chunk of the affected I-95 corridor, from Ives Dairy Road to Miami Shores, said she was ``excited and thrilled.''

Heyman had blasted the old plan as being too restrictive -- especially on weekends, when I-95 traffic jams are less common.

The current HOV rules in Miami-Dade have remained the same for a generation.

The controversial 24/7/365 HOV system may not be going into effect this year, but it is clearly going to be a part of South Florida's commuting future.

With the interstate's footprint constrained by geography and politics, and the region's population expected to swell by another 2.3 million people by 2030, traffic engineers say they need HOV lanes and other tools to squeeze every last bit of capacity out of the roadway.


In most major cities, expanded HOV hours -- coupled with serious, regular enforcement -- is supposed to provide greater incentive for solo drivers to carpool or forsake their vehicles for mass transit.

But in South Florida, HOV programs have been a constant source of aggravation. Some drivers complain when they see the HOV lanes empty.

Hybrid drivers and carpoolers complain that solo scofflaws, darting in and out of the HOV lanes, reduce the time savings they deserve as law-abiding commuters.

Traffic engineers counter that the HOV lanes are about moving people, not vehicles.

''Look, we're probably going to end up going to the 24-hour system eventually,'' Gimenez said.

``But what they were trying to do was too much all at once. This incremental approach is the right way to go.''

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I happened to attend the MPO meeting when this was initially discussed. The two commissioners mentioned in this article, Carlos Gimenez (Transportation committee chairman) and Sally Heyman (represents NE Dade) were vehemently opposed and were not pleased with the proposals of the DOT representative who sits on the MPO. Several commissioners brought up the concern that Dade needed to make sure it got regional cooperation from its neighboring counties before making any firm agreements.

In addition to each county MPO, there should be a regional body where all of these representatives can meet and make consensus. The SFRTA would be a perfect place to do this.

I agree: there should not be a 24 hour restriction in just one county... it should be uniform across the board.

As it stands now, here are the HOV restrictions:

Buses and 2 person car pools only

Dade: southbound 7am-9am northbound 4pm-6pm

Broward: all directions 7am-9am, 4pm-6pm

Palm Beach: 7am-9am, 4pm-6pm -- don't remember if there are specific directions restricted at certain times.

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If they actually enforced this, it'd be somewhat meaningful, but as it is... just hot air. I've yet to see anyone get pulled over on an HOV lane. Granted I don't travel those routes too often, but when I do I see plenty of cheaters.

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Enforcement is random and infrequent. FHP patrols Palm Beach County more heavily than the others, I've noticed, but I doubt they're there primarily for HOV enforcement.

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This would certainly effect me in a negative way, but I don't think it's all bad. I think it's false to say that "all" Dade citizens would benefit from road expansions. West Kendall, South Dade and Doral are the ones those use the expressways the most, they're the ones that are calling for more roads and complaining about traffic, why shouldn't they be paying for it themselves? Even so, this is a overly heavy handed way to deal with the situation.



West Kendall fighting proposed x-way tolls

By Richard Yager

A move to restructure the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) led by State Rep. Juan Zapata is underway in response to growing complaints that an $857 million MDX program for five major expressways unfairly penalizes West Kendall.

Rep. Zapata will introduce an amendment to a major transportation bill in the current legislative session, calling both for replacement of the current 13-member MDX Board of Directors and tighter accountability by a new seven-member board for all projects, particularly those requiring new toll revenues.

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FDOT selects a firm to dismantle flyover

The Florida Department of Transportation has selected a contractor to remove the 63rd Street flyover in North Beach.

The $14.6 million contract was awarded to Gilbert Southern Corp., a leading civil construction and engineering firm whose projects include a $115 million runway project at Miami International Airport and the seven-mile noise wall along Interstate 95.

The FDOT estimates that the project will take 580 calendar days -- a little more than a year and a half -- for completion, with work scheduled to begin in April 2006. The state agency has offered a $400,000 bonus to the contractor to finish the project within 370 calendar days.

The single-lane flyover allows drivers traveling east on 63rd Street to get to northbound Indian Creek Drive.

More clips: Miami Herald

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Transportation portal comes online in Miami-Dade

Two launches that may cheer commuters: Miami-Dade County has started a transportation portal with information on road conditions, flights and public transportation...

The Miami-Dade County transportation Web portal is at go.miamidade.gov. The partnership of 11 transportation and tourism-related agencies includes Miami-Dade Transit, Miami International Airport, the Port of Miami, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Web site features links to Metrobus and Metrorail schedules, paratransit transportation services, how to sign up for a SunPass and People's Transportation Plan updates. Links are arranged by four basic categories: air, land, sea and accessible services. Also, recognizing travelers may cross county lines, links include Broward County Transit, the Florida Department of Transportation and the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority...

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Posted on Tue, May. 10, 2005


Traffic delays here among worst in U.S.

Nationwide, travelers spend 47 hours a year stuck in traffic. In South Florida, the figure is four hours higher.


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It's no surprise to Eddy Barrera and millions of others of you stewing in your cars and trucks in traffic day after day: Rush-hour traffic in South Florida ranks sixth worst in the nation, according to a new national study released Monday.

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County drivers take 42 percent longer to get around during high-congestion hours than they do in free-flowing traffic.

The South Florida figure has dramatically grown from a rate of 9 percent since the Texas Transportation Institute started compiling the annual survey in 1982.

The only metropolitan areas with worse rush-hour ratios are Los Angeles (75 percent), Chicago (57), San Francisco (54), Washington, D.C. (51), and Atlanta (46). South Florida tied for sixth with Houston.

Read more: Miami Herald

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^I'm not a driver, but I've never really seen traffic that bad. Maybe it's not as bad in Palm Beach County. I've seen worse traffic in Jacksonville.

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I was in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale a few weekends ago with a friend from San Francisco (number 2 on the list), and he couldn't believe the traffic (on a weekend even). He's used to commuting on weekdays in SF, and the weekend Miami traffic was far worse than he sees daily.

^ The traffic volume in Palm Beach County has never been that terrible for me, but the construction that has been nonstop there since I first starting going to South Florida in 1999 is a huge headache. Once that is finished, the county will be a breeze to drive through, at least for a few years.

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I guess in a way, that's a indicator of all the stuff there is to do on the weekend. B)

Miami has its weekend chokepoints on 836 (Dolphin Expressway), east in the afternoon, west in the evening... The "weekend rush hour" starts a bit later than the weekday one. :) And then when everyone is trekking to South Beach, the traffic gets congested eastbound in the evening. The Palmetto Expressway at the 836 interchange can also be fairly congested at this time too.

It's something you get used to, and you learn to maneuver around it. And you learn all the sidestreets, the ones that everyone else knows. :)

Speaking of traffic congestion, the stretch of I-95 between Vero Beach and Daytona Beach is a nightmare. In the urban counties (Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach), I-95 is an average of 8-12 lanes of traffic. Just past Fort Pierce it narrows to 4 and doesn't widen to 6 until Volusia County. The road is seriously over capacity along that stretch.

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Kendall Drive gets weekend rush hours as well. The reasons: Target, Home Depot and Wal-Mart. Bleh. I've learned to take backroads to get to Krome.

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Palm Beach County has recently undergone a BUNCH of annoying 95 construction. We've gone from 6 lanes to 10! (Jupiter and areas further north are like 8)

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Kendall-area airport to get first hotel

Brian Bandell

A developer is forecasting high occupancy at a hotel planned next to Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport and scouting similar locations.

The Morlin Group of Miami plans to break ground in the fourth quarter on the 107-room Holiday Inn Express in a $10 million project scheduled for completion in late 2006. It would be the first hotel near the airport and the westernmost hotel in the Kendall area.

The hotel will have about 40,000 room nights a year and 20,000 to 30,000 should be filled by business from the airport alone, said Seth Fellman, president of Morlin.

In addition to flight schools, fractionally owned private planes and corporate planes for south Miami-Dade companies, the Kendall-Tamiami airport gets many visitors during NASCAR races at the nearby Homestead International Speedway, he said.

the rest: South Florida Business Journal

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Posted on Thu, May. 26, 2005


MIA leading in U.S. international air freight

Air imports and exports picked up at Miami International Airport during 2004, compared to lackluster performances in 2002 and 2003.


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Miami International Airport, the air freight gateway for Latin America and the Caribbean, imported and exported nearly one million tons of cargo during 2004, a double-digit increase after two lackluster years.

The airport handled 82 percent of all air imports and 77 percent of all air exports between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean last year.

More: Miami Herald


Some quick stats on MIA's freight operations:

  • primary US importer/exporter between US and Latin America/Caribbean

  • handles 82% of LA&C air imports, 77% of air exports

  • leads the US in international freight - 1.6 million tons annually

  • largest import country by weight: Colombia, by volume: Brazil

  • primary exports by value: computers, telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery, and oil and gas drilling machinery.

  • handles 88% of nation's fresh-cut flower imports

  • handles 55% of nation's fruit and vegetable imports received by air

  • handles 69% of US air imports of perishable goods.

  • handles 66% of US air imports of fish/seafood

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Any discounted flights we get into MIA are a big deal...

Ted to up flights to Miami

New routes, three of which involve Miami, are coming to Ted Airlines as part of a 20 percent fleet expansion.

The low-fare unit of United Airlines said, effective Sept. 7, it will fly from twice daily from both Denver to Miami and Washington Dulles to Miami. Effective Oct. 31, the airline is to fly twice daily from Chicago O'Hare to Miami.


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