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Key Biscayne braced for the worst, but flyover closure, part two was smooth sailing.

There were no issues with traffic on the project’s opening day Monday. Large orange and white barriers prevented cars from using the southbound ramp, while traffic on the streets below ground level was managed by City of Miami police.

But even though Day 1 may have gone well, the Florida Department of Transportation says people should expect heavier than usual traffic this weekend because of the renovations to the exit to the flyover. 

One likely factor: the Southbound flyover route to U.S. 1 only handles 30% of cars exiting the island. The next phase, when I-95 is closed, is expected to be tougher to manage, officials say, 

The U.S. 1 detour started at 1 a.m.  Key Biscayne Manager Steve Williamson says one goal is to learn what works – and what doesn’t as the project moves along. The first evaluation session is set for Wednesday when City, State and Village officials meet with FDOT to prepare for weekend traffic. 

There is no current plan to limit capacity for the twin parks on the island — Bill Baggs Cape Florida and Crandon’s beaches, golf course, and marina. 

Williamson said similar meetings are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. 

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“We saw what happened in April – that obviously wasn’t the smart way to do the work,” he said. “I think what we need to make very clear is this work needs to be done.”

Memories of the April 14 traffic meltdown are still fresh. 

Key Biscayne ambulances were forced to drive the wrong way in the inbound lanes in order to respond to emergency calls during the April traffic jam. People opened their doors, while several relieved themselves in the bushes. 

State officials split the construction into two phases to avoid traffic congestion. The closure of the southbound ramp to the U.S. 1 began today at 1 a.m. and will end at 6 a.m. on the 20th. 

The ramp leading to northbound I-95 will close on July 21 and remain closed until the early hours of August 3 in the second phase. The ramp leading to I-95 will close on the 21st at 10 p.m. and reopen on the 3rd at 6 a.m. 

“We got a lot of attention on this one,” Williamson said. 

BIILY JEAN LOUIS is the senior editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. A native of Port Au Prince, Haiti, Jean Louis  has worked for Bloomberg and the Baltimore Sun. He is a corps member of Report for America

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BIILY JEAN LOUIS is the senior editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. A native of Port Au Prince, Haiti, Jean Louis  has worked for Bloomberg and the Baltimore Sun. He is a corps member of Report for...