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Lane of Collins Ave. opens near Surfside collapse site to ease traffic concerns

The closure of the main road had led to traffic nightmares in residential neighborhoods of the town. Mayor Charles Burkett says the engineer they hired deemed it safe to reopen the westernmost lane Saturday morning.
The closure of the main road had led to traffic nightmares in residential neighborhoods of the town. Mayor Charles Burkett says the engineer they hired deemed it safe to reopen the westernmost lane Saturday morning.

SURFSIDE, Fla. – One lane of Collins Avenue near the site of the Surfside condo collapse reopened Saturday.

The decision came after an exclusive Local 10 News report Wednesday detailed how the closed roads have dangerously diverted traffic into residential neighborhoods.

“Our manager has been working incredibly hard since you guys put that last piece out on the incredible traffic snaking through our residential district,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said. “I would just like to urge everybody to please use those main arteries.”

Collins Avenue had been shut down in the area since the Champlain Towers South collapse on June 24.

There were concerns about opening both lanes due to safety issues raised by the engineer hired by Surfside to investigate the collapse.

But Burkett says opening one lane will be safe.

“Per the direction from our expert Allyn Kilsheimer — Allyn Kilsheimer was also the one who reached out to the county — according to his calculations that westernmost lane could be opened immediately and was not a factor or danger,” Burkett said.

Burkett and Surfside residents shared concerns about the high traffic on local roads.

“We had a little girl that came close to being hit by a car the other day,” the mayor said Wednesday. “It’s enough someone is going to die.”

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava had said the county was ensuring the roadway was safe before reopening it.

“We are working very closely with the town of Surfside, FEMA, law enforcement, and all our partners to ensure the section of Collins Avenue adjacent to the site of the collapse is safe before we open it up for traffic,” she said in a statement after Local 10 News’ initial report. “It was the town’s own engineer who raised concerns that the site wall was at risk of collapse which could lead to the caving in of Collins Ave, and we have taken all necessary action to protect the safety of residents and visitors by undertaking shoring and bracing of the wall. Our teams are working as hard as possible to open the street as soon as it’s safe to do so.”


About the Author:

Reporter Rosh Lowe is covering the Surfside building collapse and other news for Local 10 News.