Golden Glades Interchange Makeover -- All Parts.

Golden Glades Interchange Makeover 1

Thursday, May 19, 2016

If you look at a detailed map of Miami's Golden Glades interchange, it is a MESS! Some movements can't be done without going to a far end of the interchange and back through a loop and several weaves. Another movement involves waiting in a doghouse lane waiting for a traffic light to change.

Source and Copyright:

And yet at the same time it looks so convoluted, where ten arteries - four of them expressways - come together at one point that it appears impossible to improve it without acquiring a LOT of property! Any ideas? Put it in the comment box and provide a link to a more detailed expression of your idea.


Posted by Ed-M at 12:55 PM

Golden Glades Interchange Makeover 2

Friday, May 20, 2016

Updated 22 May 2016

Well I have an idea... make a Northside Connector direct from the Palmetto Expressway to I-95 North and call it I-495. Also make improvements to the end of the Turnpike and make it FL I-91. Basically it involves the construction of a new limited-access highway with three-quarters of a stack interchange at the intersection of the Palmetto and the Turnpike.

Bird's eye view. Looking Northeast. Turnpike runs from center-left to lower right, Palmetto is at lower left. I-95 runs up the right side, bottom to top. The Northside Connector with ramps in red runs from the Palmetto at lower left to I-95 at the top. Surface roads called NW 167 St 7th Ave Ext and US 441 North in yellow.

Plane eye's view. Turnpike & Turnpike Connector (FL I-91 TPK) and Palmetto/Northside Connector (I-495) both in blue. I-95 Express Toll Lanes viaduct in purple. Ramps in red. Surface roads in yellow.

Here you can clearly see that the (new) FL I-91 TPK mainline here follows the bulk of the traffic to and from I-95 out of Miami. The I-495 Northside Connector follows the existing NW 167 St 7th Ave Extension on a viaduct beginning just east of the existing Turnpike - NW 167 St North Miami Beach connector. The existing surface road below is reconfigured as shown in yellow. The ramps are shown in red.

The are four high-level ramps; they carry traffic:

(1) From (I-95) FL I-91 TPK NB to I-495 Palmetto X-way WB
(2) From I-495 Palmetto Xway EB to FL I-91 TPK NB
(3) From FL I-91 TPK SB to I-495 Northside Connector EB (I-95 NB), and
(4) From (I-95 SB) I-495 Northside Connector WB to I-91 TPK NB.

There are also two high-capacity ground-level ramps:

(1) FL I-91 TPK SB to I-495 Palmetto X-way WB
(2) I-495 Palmetto X-way EB to FL I-91 TPK (I-95) SB

Plus there is a two-branched ramp to the Golden Glades Park-and-Ride from the FL I-91 TPK SB and the I-495 Palmetto X-way EB.
The existing interchange of the existing Rte. 826 overpass connecting the Turnpike to NW 167 ST Miami Beach is tweaked:

(1) There is an I-495 eastbound surface road turnoff for NW 167 St 7th Ave Ext and NW 7th Ave North, because you know how traffic backs up at a light.
(2) The existing ramp to NW 167 St Miami Beach is rebuilt so the surface road turnoff can pass underneath.
(3) The existing off-ramp from the Rte. 826 overpass is tweaked to accommodate a merge from the reconfigured NW 167 St 7th Ave Ext.
(4) The existing on-ramp from NW 167 St 7th Ave Ext to the FL I-91 TPK NB is tweaked to accommodate the new high-level ramp no. (4) above.
(5) The existing Rte. 826 overpass feed-in to the turnpike is tweaked to accommodate the new FL I-91 TPK mainline and high-level ramp no. (2) above.
(6) The existing ramp from the FL I-91 TPK SB to Rte. 826 EB is extended or relocated as necessary.


(1) The existing ramp from Rte. 9 / US 441 NB to FL I-91 TPK NB is tweaked and extended to provide access to the I-495 Palmetto X-way WB via the new high level ramp (1) thereto.
(2) The existing US 441 ramps from the Golden Glades Interchange mess at I-95 to NW 2nd Ave are rebuilt / regraded as necessary to accommodate the new round-a-bout.
(3) New slip ramps are included to connect the reconfigured NW 167 ST Ext and NW 7th Ave to the I-495 Northside Connector to and from I-95 (westbound off-ramp west of the round-about, eastbound on-ramp from and east of the round-a-bout).
(4) The existing quarter-cloverleaf from FL I-91 TPK NB to I-495 Palmetto X-way and the existing ramp from I-95 SB to the Rte. 826 overpass WB are done away with.

But the rest of the Golden Glades Interchange that sits on the south side of the railroad tracks, I have no idea how to disentangle it; it's such a mess of spaghetti!

22 May 2016 Update: A tweak on the ramps from the I-91 TPK SB to I-95 SB, I-495 SB, I-495 (95) NB, Rte. 826 EB, etc., would be to have the ramp to I-95 SB/Rte 495 WB/Golden Glades Park-and-Ride split off of the ramp to I-495 EB/Northside Connector instead from the ramp to Rte. 826 EB/North Miami Beach.

Of course, the state has its own ideas, with a design based on what they predict the Average Daily Traffic (ADT) will be in 2040. Now thanks to climate change and the sea-level rise at Miami and its effects on the porous limerock-encased Biscayne Aquifer, the ADT at this interchange might be... exactly... zero!

So I don't expect my makeover to be built, either.

Posted by Ed-M at 1:23 PM

Golden Glades Interchange Makeover 3

Friday, May 27, 2016

Updated 31 May 2016 and 2 June 2016

Okay, today I'll show you what the State of Florida is planning to do to make over this bad interchange that's utterly constipated with over 400,000 cars (actually all manner of motor vehicles) a day. Again, I'll first show you what the existing bad intersection looks like:

It's a mess, innit? If you can't figure out how it works from the air or a map, it'll be more difficult to make sense of it while on the ground! There are anecdotes of people getting hopelessly lost in this motorway junction of two freeways, a tollway and six/seven other roads. One of these days there'll be legends of the lost Floridian, wandering through the intersection, getting lost, finding his way out on the wrong road, turning around and going back in ad infinitum.

Well anyway back in 2014 the State Transportation Department did a study and came up with some solutions. Basically they figured a way to get State Route 826 Palmetto Expwy EB to I-95 NB, improve the flow of the Turnpike SB to the Golden Glades park 'n' ride and onto I-95 into Miami, and a lot of minor improvements (some "improvements" I wouldn't call them that) for the near term. This is their "Interim" plan for the interchange. Then they’re going to bring in new High Occupancy/Toll Lanes from the Palmetto Expwy to the I-95 Express Lanes to and from Broward County. and an on-ramp from the Turnpike SB into I-95 Express Lane into Miami. This is their "Ultimate" intent for the motorway junction.

So here without further ado is the State's design for the "Interim" plan, or what I call Stage One:

Revised the layout to more accurately reflect the State of Florida's Interim concept plan.
Also so that the State's Ultimate concept plan will fit with even the slightest bit of accuracy!
And here I show a simplified bird's eye view: The major widenings, the new roads and viaduct, and one of the reworked traffic lights are highlighted in Spanish Orange. The rest are just shown as-is for your ease of viewing.

Bird's-eye view of the Golden Glades interchange with major "Interim" changes planned by the State shown.
Showing ALL the roads that are going to be rebuilt by 2020 is just going to be too damn much! And would fill this bird's-eye photo with clutter.

Note the major do-overs:

1. New connector ramp from State Route 826 EB to I-95 NB (on viaduct).

2. Expansion of the Turnpike Connector SB (which really should be the mainline due to the amount of traffic it carries) to I-95 into Miami. This is going to be at its widest five travel lanes and two breakdown lanes.

3. Widening and increasing the turning radius of the ramp from S.R. 826 EB to I-95 NB.

4. Reworking the traffic lighted intersection of NW 7th Ave Ext and the Turnpike on-ramp so there are two left-turn "doghouse" lanes from S.R. 826 EB to the Turnpike NB.

Next I'll show you the State's "Ultimate" plan and tell you what's missing (a few vital freeway-to-freeway/tollway connections and vice-versa without traffic lights) and see how I can fit my ideas for this rat's nest with their plans.

31 May 2016 UPDATE: Revised my "stage one" or the State's "Interim" layout image, second one from the top, for accuracy purposes and to fit their "Ultimate" layout in.

2 JUNE 2016 UPDATE: Revised marking for the I-95 Express lanes to a smaller marker in a more obvious location.

Posted by Ed-M at 2:33 PM

Golden Glades Interchange Makeover 4

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Okay, it's been a long time since I posted an update on my Golden Glades Interchange Makeover. The last post had to do with the Interim stage of the State of Florida's planned changes to the interchange. Now I will show you the changes the State will do for its Ultimate build-out.

Florida DOT's Ultimate build-out.
I will point out the changes the state is planning on constructing for its Ultimate construction for the sprawling-yet-too-small, confusing interchange. I will go roughly west-to-east, i.e., left-to-right as I relate the State's proposed changes. Just describing these changes is confusing!


7: State Road 7 (SR-7).
9: State Road 9 (SR-9).
I-95: Interstate 95.
441: US Highway 441
826: State Road 826 (SR-826), a.k.a. Palmetto Expressway and NW 163rd St.

And here are the changes:

1. 826 (Palmetto Expressway): Build an H-O-T connector viaduct from a point about 3,000 feet west of the Turnpike Connector to the I-95 Express Lane viaduct.

2. Build a separate H-O-T lane along the Florida Turnpike Connector southbound to connect with the I-95 Express lanes.

3. Rebuild 9 and 441 in the area of the Golden Glades Park and Ride Lots in connection to the repurposing of the lots themselves and the unweaving of different and conflicting streams of traffic underneath the Turnpike Connector.

4. Repurpose and redevelop the Golden Glades Park-and-Ride Lots. The lot west of 441 will become a bus terminal with commuter parking, or "Multimodal Facility"; the other one into a truck stop, or "Truck and Travel Center." The improvements for each of both are not shown -- too much precision work with an imprecise tool: MS Paint! (PS I tried copying and pasting from FLDOT's PDF on the interchange but the drafting images don't copy, just the background photos.)

5. Separate the weaving streams of traffic along the road carrying 441, 7 and 9 underneath the Turnpike Connector to eliminate dangerous crossing of traffic to and from the Turnpike from all other traffic to all points north and east.

6. Extend the Turnpike Connector southbound to merge into the I-95 further south on the Interstate, i.e., at the Biscayne canal, just off the photo.

7. Widen the Turnpike Mainline feed-in to and from 826 (NW 163rd St) between the NW 7th Avenue Extension and the on-ramp from I-95 southbound, including the bridge over the railroad tracks.

8. Add new ramps from the 441-7-9 highway to the I-95 northbound, US 441 northbound and 826 (NW 163 St) eastbound. This work includes the construction of two new bridges over the I-95 to replace the old one that will be torn down. Two of the ramps will duck under the 826 (NW 163rd St) bridge over the I-95.

9. Add a new off ramp from the I-95 to 826 (NW 163rd St) eastbound and 441-7 northbound. This ramp splits south of the two new bridges for the highway carrying 441-7-9.

10. Update the pavement and safety features to the I-95 Expressway.

11. Remodel or replace a section of the I-95 Express Lane viaduct and include ramps for a new connector viaduct to the planned 826 H-O-T lane.

12. Rework the I-95 / 441 / 826 / ramp system within the interchange itself. This involves repaving and rebuilding roadways and relocate a certain ramp from 441-7 northbound to I-95 northbound, to eliminate a bad reverse curve that tucks underneath a bridge, which will be torn down.

13. Renovate or replace the 441 / SR 7 northbound overpass to accommodate ramp changes and the I-95 Express Lane viaduct changes.

14. Repave and remodel the surface streets (NW 163rd St and NW 2nd Ave) on the east side of the interchange, including the traffic-lighted intersection.

Phew! That's quite a lot. You can get a PDF of the State's (STILL) planned changes to this ugly mess by googling "Florida DOT Golden Glades Interchange" or by clicking here.

Next I will show you what can come next so that motorists travelling east on the Palmetto Expressway won't have to stop at a red light to get to the Turnpike and motorists travelling south on the Turnpike won't have to do the same to get to I-95 North.

Posted by Ed-M at 12:01 PM

Golden Glades Interchange Makeover 5

Thursday, September 22, 2016

This is the fifth of several posts regarding a makeover of the current disorganised highway mess called the Golden Glades Interchange. The changes planned by the State of Florida I have summarised in the previous post in this series, and the one before that.

The changes that I see need to be done are not included in the State's plan consist of supplying a limited-access, non-stop connector for the 826 Palmetto Expressway eastbound to the Florida Turnpike northbound, a similar connector from the Florida Turnpike southbound to I-95 northbound, another between I-95 southbound and the Florida Turnpike northbound, and a multilane connector between the 826 Palmetto Expressway and I-95 North. Also missing are a ground-level, interstate-quality connector for the Florida Turnpike connector to the Turnpike Mainline northbound and a mainline priority for most of the traffic going from the Turnpike to points south.

So here is the first of four posts showing what changes will be made to the interchange, step-by-step, to get rid of those deficiencies.

Satellite view of my first addition to the Golden Glades Interchange.
The changes planned by the state are in golden-yellow, my changes in white and red-outlined pink.

The first additional change to be done will be to build a direct connector ramp from 826 eastbound to the Turnpike northbound. It will require the taking of three (or four) pieces of property on the south side of the NW 7th Ave Extension, entailing the removal of three businesses: a self-storage place, a roadside gasoline station and a warehouse which leases some of its space to a non-denominational church. Some property may need to be purchased from the owner of the abandoned hospital that allegedly contains the small business called Perfection Cubeoctahedron and the Lubavitcher academy next to it (parking lots only -- no buildings will need to be removed) It will also require the construction of two bridges and one viaduct, shown in pink, outlined with red.

The viaduct will be built at such a height so as to clear my last addition to the interchange: the I-495 Golden Glades Northside Connector viaduct upgrade. The height of the ramp will be about 40 to 50 feet, depending on the required height of the upgrade and the depth of the ramp deck (including support beams) over it.

Once this 270-degree loop ramp is built, the existing traffic-lighted intersection at the east end of the 826 Expressway, opposite the gas station, will be removed.

Posted by Ed-M at 10:48 AM

Golden Glades Interchange Makeover 6

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Parts 1 through 5 can be seen <a href="">here</a>.

This part makes the Florida's Turnpike Connector NB into an interstate-quality highway like its southbound cousin and remakes the Connector into a new Turnpike mainline, thus making it eligible for an interstate number.

The first phase of this part of the construction involves reconfiguring how the Florida's Turnpike connects to the Beaches, the SR-826 Palmetto Expressway and I-95 South (Miami). What is to be done first is to construct a new viaduct in the breakdown lane and green margin space of the southbound Turnpike. This roadway would have to soar above the existing Turnpike Connector northbound, otherwise the existing "left exit" for SR-826 and the beaches will have to detour through the Golden Glades park 'n; ride area -- a journey almost to the Biscayne Canal and back, stopping once at a traffic light. Once this is done and the elevated ramp is opened to traffic, the existing northbound Connector can be degraded from the top of the current embankment down to ground level and the ramps leading from the SR-826 Palmetto Expressway eastbound, the Northwest 7th Avenue Extension southbound, and from SR-826 NW 163rd Street westbound can also be degraded to ground level and reconfigured as shown (or in a different manner).  A temporary roadway will be required. At this time the bridge carrying the existing Turnpike Mainline over the NW 7th Avenue Extension would be rebuilt to provide room for the widening of the Extension and construction of the Northside Connector (next and final part).   At this point the Turnpike southbound will get back its breakdown lane.  As an extra, the Mainline that carries SR-826 westbound from the Beaches would be widened to eliminate a choke point just before the 270-degree loop ramp.

Once the above construction is out of the way, the second phase of this part involves the provision of a full breakdown lane on the existing Turnpike Connector northbound from the loop ramp at the US-441/SR-7 and SR-9 roadways, all the way up to the point where the northbound roadway will connect with the existing Turnpike northbound.  This will involve adjustments or rebuilding of three bridges: one over the ramps mentioned, the second over the railroad tracks, and the third over the SR-826 Palmetto Expressway. As a part of this construction the State can decide if it wants to keep the existing left-hand split from I-95 northbound, or switch it over to a right-hand split.

Once this is all done, may I suggest that the Turnpike, presently Florida state road reference number SR-91, be posted as I-91 as I have shown since it passes between Orlando and Disney World and carries interstate traffic up to I-75, which heads north all the way to Michigan.

Next and last part coming up!

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