Description: Settled in the 1890’s—before Miami was even incorporated—Overtown is the historic heart of the city’s black community. In the first half of the twentieth century, Overtown was a port of entry for black immigrants from Cuba, Barbados, Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, and Jamaica. By 1965, half of Overtown’s population had been displaced to make way for the construction of a major interchange between I-95, I-395, and State Highway 836.
For years, planners have suggested initiatives to mitigate the impact of the 1.3-mile I-395 spur, which connects I-95 to Miami Beach. In 2002 there was a proposal to replace the highway with an open-cut, below grade freeway, reintroduce smaller blocks and mixed uses into the area, and possibly re-create a jazz and entertainment district. In February of 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) conducted a Final Environmental Impact Statement, which evaluated five different alternatives for I-395—a no-build option, two elevated alternatives, one tunnel alternative, and one open-cut, below-grade alternative.
The Florida DOT (FDOT) argued that a super-elevated highway would offer a more affordable method of restoring property values to the area while serving transportation needs. As of October 2010, FDOT were still advocating reconstruction as a super-elevated highway, at a cost of about $580 million. This option would increase the highway from four to six lanes and create emergency lanes. This option was included in Miami-Dade County's 2035 Long Range Plan.
The final environmental impact statement, completed by FDOT and FHWA, in February of 2010, postulated that any rebuild must achieve increased capacity; it identified an elevated freeway as the only viable construction option. There is some degree of organized neighborhood opposition to this initiative, but FDOT has moved forward with lane expansion and repairs totaling $7.5 million already. In July of 2010, FHWA issued a record of decision that selected one of the elevated freeway alternatives presented in the Final EIS.
Starting Point: I-95
Ending Point: MacArthur Causeway Bridge