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Don Shula Expressway

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Title: Don Shula Expressway  
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Subject: Don Shula, Miami metropolitan area, Florida State Road 826, Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike
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Don Shula Expressway

State Road 874
Don Shula Expressway
;">Route information
Maintained by MDX
Existed: 1973[1] – present
;">Major junctions
South end: Homestead Ext in Richmond HeightsThree LakesKendall
  SR 94 in Kendall
SR 878 in Kendall–Sunset
North end: SR 826 in Olympia HeightsGlenvar Heights
;">Highway system

State Road 874 (SR 874), named the Don Shula Expressway for its length, is an electronic toll road in southern Miami-Dade County, Florida. It extends 7 miles (11 km) northeast from the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike (HEFT) in southwestern Kendall to the Palmetto Expressway (SR 826) in Glenvar Heights, allowing traffic from the far south of Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys to move to more central regions of metropolitan Miami and vice-versa, bypassing communities along U.S. Route 1, while also permitting local access to the Kendall district. The road, named in honor of the long-serving coach of the Miami Dolphins NFL team, is maintained and tolled by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX). Contrary to the numbering plan of Florida State Roads, SR 874 is signed north–south.

Route description

SR 874 begins at an interchange with the HEFT on the boundary of the communities of Three Lakes, Richmond Heights and Kendall,[2] about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Downtown Miami.[3] The expressway is formed from the median lanes of the HEFT, and immediately turns to the northeast, passing under the HEFT's northbound lanes. Southbound HEFT traffic cannot access northbound SR 874; likewise, southbound SR 874 traffic cannot access the HEFT northbound. After turning to the northeast and entering Kendall, the six-laned Don Shula Expressway subsequently follows a CSX-owned railroad past predominantly residential neighborhoods for its entire route. SR 874 meets its first of three toll gantries about 1.4 miles (2.3 km) north of its southern terminus, just north of its former lone toll plaza.[4][5]

About from SR 874's southern terminus, the expressway interchanges with Killian Parkway (SR 990) and Southwest 107th Avenue (SR 985) at a partial cloverleaf interchange. The Don Shula Expressway continues on for 1.1 miles (1.8 km), passing through another toll gantry, before reaching an interchange with Kendall Drive (SR 94). Almost immediately afterwards, SR 874 crosses the Snapper Creek Canal and enters the Sunset district.[6] It then reaches the partial interchange with the Snapper Creek Expressway (SR 878); indeed, southbound motorists along the Don Shula Expressway who wish to exit to Kendall Drive are directed onto the westernmost portion of SR 878. Once past the Snapper Creek Expressway, SR 874 features no interchanges for the remainder of its route. Just north of the bridge over Sunset Drive (SR 986), about north of SR 878, motorists in both directions are provided with a separated lane to take their vehicles to if caught in an accident. past the accident investigation sites, the Don Shula Expressway swings north over the railroad, crossing over Galloway Road (SR 973) in the process, and resumes its northeasterly orientation, now forming the boundary between the communities of Olympia Heights, to the road's north, and Glenvar Heights, to the south.[7] 0.6 miles (970 m) later, SR 874 passes through its third and final toll gantry, before reaching its northern terminus in a partial interchange with the Palmetto Expressway after another . Like at its southern terminus, SR 874 forms the central lanes of SR 826 northbound; however, its interchange is integrated with SR 826's interchange with Bird Road (SR 976). Also like its southern terminus, there is no access for northbound SR 874 or SR 826 traffic to the other route's southbound counterpart.[4][5][8]


SR 874's tolls are entirely electronic: cash cannot be accepted along its length. Payment is done either via SunPass transponders or via toll-by-plate billing, the latter of which attracts a higher cost. Three toll gantries are located along the Don Shula Expressway: the first between the HEFT and Killian Parkway, the second between Killian Parkway and Kendall Drive, and the last between the Snapper Creek and Palmetto Expressways. The relationship between the tolling points and interchanges along SR 874 and SR 878 is that all motorists are charged at least one toll for using the road; there are no "free sections".[9] As of July 1, 2013, the cost for a two-axled vehicle to drive the entire length of SR 874 is $1.00 with a SunPass transponder, or $2.00 via the toll-by-plate program, with the two southern gantries charging $0.25 (SunPass) or $0.50 (toll-by-plate) each, and the northern one charging twice as much. Each additional axle on a vehicle attracts a surcharge equal to the cost of a two-axled vehicle for each gantry passed.[10]


The history of the Don Shula Expressway can be traced back to 1957 when, in planning for the Palmetto Expressway's routing, Dade County Commissioner Ralph Fossey proposed an alternative southern alignment of the expressway to follow the then Seaboard-owned railroad southwest from near Miller Drive (Southwest 56th Avenue) to Southwest 117th Avenue, before heading south to US 1 at Goulds, instead of heading due south to Kendall.[11] While the Palmetto Expressway was built to its original plan in 1961,[12] the concept of an expressway next to the Seaboard tracks south of Miller Drive, termed the South Dade Expressway, continued to feature in transportation plans over the next decade.[13] By the middle of 1969, bonds for construction of the South Dade Expressway were being secured from the Turnpike Authority;[14] however, plans for the expressway were revised and incorporated into wider plans involving the West Dade Expressway (what would become the HEFT) in 1970, which included a toll of ten cents and a shift of the South Dade Expressway to the northern side of the Seaboard railroad north of Galloway Road (Southwest 87th Avenue).[15] Funding was secured in 1971, and a construction end-date was set for early 1973.[16] This did not eventuate due to difficulties to acquire land for the expressway's right-of-way,[17] resulting in the final section of the South Dade Expressway, between Kendall Drive and the Palmetto Expressway, opening at midday on July 31, 1975.[1]

In 1983, the South Dade Expressway was renamed by the Florida Legislature to the Don Shula Expressway, in honor of the Hall of Fame head coach of the Miami Dolphins NFL team.[18] Tolls along the Don Shula Expressway were collected at the southern toll plaza[19] until July 17, 2010 when, as part of MDX's rollout of electronic tolling across its owned roads, the road was converted to open road tolling at the same time as the adjoining Snapper Creek Expressway.[20][21] Initially, tolls were $0.25 for SunPass users at the southern gantries and $0.50 at the northern gantry, with a $0.15 surcharge for motorists using the toll-by-plate system at all gantries.[9] The toll-by-plate rate increased on July 1, 2013, while the SunPass rate was unaffected.[10]


As part of its long-term plans for the region, MDX is seeking to improve access to the Don Shula Expressway from its surrounding communities, particularly from the areas west of the HEFT.[22] Notably, MDX has launched a project to build exit and entry ramps from SR 874 into the Three Lakes district west of its southern terminus, aiming to relieve congestion at the Southwest 120th Street and Coral Reef Drive (SR 992) interchanges with the HEFT by providing alternative access and egress of the area via SR 874. Studies to build the connection ran from 2010 until early 2012, in which six alternative routes for the ramps were suggested: the preferred route sees Southwest 128th Street widened east of Southwest 137th Avenue to four lanes, with flyovers from east of Southwest 122nd Avenue, heading over the HEFT/SR 874 interchange, to merge with SR 874 east of Southwest 117th Avenue. Construction is set to begin in 2015, with completion sometime two years later.[23]

An additional project to improve connectivity with the Don Shula Expressway sees the construction of a partial diamond interchange between SR 874 and Sunset Drive (SR 986), so as to relieve congestion along SR 986 and improve access to the Sunset and neighboring districts. The interchange's ramps would permit movement only to and from SR 874 north of SR 986. MDX began preliminary studies of the project in 2009, but no timeline for construction has yet been published.[24]

Exit list

See also


External links

  • SR 874 in Florida at SouthEastRoads
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