A reconfigured interchanget at State Roads 836 and 826 gets its first commuter test Tuesday as the rush hour resumes after the three-day holiday.
A flip-flop: In addition to the permanent closing of the 87th Avenue ramp and the closing of the 72nd Avenue loop ramp, a new way to continue on westbound 836 and to enter 826 northbound or southbound is now in effect.
Drivers continuing on westbound 836 will have to stay to the right and those bound for 826 north or south will move to the left two lanes.
The traffic-pattern shift is part of the massive, $560 million renovation of the interchange linking 836 with State Road 826, the Palmetto Expressway, just west of Miami International Airport.
The interchange’s overhaul began in November 2009 and is scheduled for completion in late 2015.
Monday's traffic, while lighter because of the Presidents' Day holiday, was slow-going at times during the peak hours as drivers tried to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B.
“These are among the most significant changes so far in the project,” said Oscar González, project spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation.
Once the project is completed, soaring new ramps and flyovers will link 826 and 836, the idea being to make it easier for commuters to travel between the two busy expressways and to exit to or enter from major nearby avenues and streets, including Milam Dairy Road, Northwest 72nd Avenue and Northwest 12th Street.
The changes that rolled out over the weekend are part of a four-part series of traffic-pattern shifts.
In early January, the contractor opened four new, permanent ramps and flyovers giving drivers traveling in both directions on 836 easier access to the southbound Palmetto as well as to West Flagler Street and Southwest Eighth Street.