For Immediate Release
March 6, 2020
Contact: Clarisell De Cardenas
Town of Miami Lakes Attempts to Compromise on Bridge Litigation
Miami Lakes, FL – The Town of Miami Lakes (“Town”) continues to make every effort to avoid litigation and resolve the matter with the 154th Street and 170th Street Bridges. As a compromise and to alleviate any alleged concerns regarding public safety the Town has conveyed an offer that it would be willing to allow the passage of emergency and public safety vehicles over NW 170th Street. This offer was conveyed to Miami-Dade County (“County”) and cursorily rejected. In addition, the City of Hialeah (“Hialeah”) has not provided a response to date. The Town through its attorneys has also proposed that all parties to the litigation attend a mediation conference. Hialeah has agreed to attend but the County has not responded to the request.
As a matter of background, there are very specific agreements in place concerning roads within the Town. On February 11, 2003, the Town of Miami Lakes and Miami-Dade County, entered into a written agreement entitled “Road Transfer Agreement Between Miami-Dade County, Florida and The Town of Miami Lakes” (“Road Transfer Agreement”).
Pursuant to the Road Transfer Agreement, the County transferred control and ownership over municipal streets to the Town. Specifically, the Road Transfer Agreement contains the following provisions:
“The jurisdiction, ownership and control of all public roads…within the corporate limits of the Town of Miami Lakes (the “Road Segments”)[sic] heretofore designated as part of the County’s road system prior to the effective date of this agreement are transferred and conveyed to the Town road system;
“The Town agrees to accept legal rights, responsibilities, and obligations with respect to the Road Segments, including but not limited to the planning, design, construction, improvement, and maintenance of the Road Segments.”
The Road Transfer Agreement in several other sections repeatedly provides that the planning, design, construction, improvement, and maintenance of the Road Segments are under the Town’s sole jurisdiction.
Included in the Road Segments transferred to the Town, is the southern portion of NW 170th Street within the Town’s boundaries. The Town is opposed to the opening of a bridge at N.W. 170th Street because it means increased traffic congestion on roads already rated “F” by the Florida Department of Transportation and will lead to declining property values, loss of economic activity, increased pollution, increased wear and tear on roads (for which the Town is responsible for maintaining in good condition) strain public safety resources like Police and Fire, and an overall deterioration in the quality of life for Miami Lakers.
The only way the opening of a bridge at N.W. 170th Street will be less detrimental to the health, safety, and general welfare of our residents is if it is done after forward thinking traffic improvements are completed. Without these improvements, the opening of the bridge at N.W. 170th Street will cause irreversible damage to the Town and will be detrimental to the road segments owned and maintained by the Town. This is borne out by the study paid for by the Town and developed in conjunction with Miami-Dade County. As currently designed and constructed, NW 170th Street cannot withstand the traffic that will be generated by the opening of the bridge. The increased traffic will also place an additional burden on the Town’s Public Works, police services, and its residents.
The Town has repeatedly expressed concerns about the lack of connectivity and has searched for broader solutions that must be made in conjunction with the construction of NW 170 Street. For example, the Town has requested the construction of on-ramps onto the Gratigny Expressway at NW 67th Avenue and NW 87th Avenue. In addition, the Town has requested that underpasses be built underneath the Palmetto Expressway at NW 146 Street and NW 160 street. The Town has also requested the completion of the entrance ramp onto the Turnpike at NW 170th Street. Unless and until all of these projects are completed, the construction of NW 170 Street will create an unreasonable burden upon the Town.
Since the inception of this issue, the Town has been searching for solutions that do not shift the entire burden of Hialeah’s over development on the Town. Emergency traffic only, connectivity to I-75 and the Turnpike have been proposed by the Town with no response from any of the parties to the lawsuit. The Town will otherwise continue to vigorously pursue its rights as set forth in the agreements unless and until the parties resolve the matter.