MIAMI – Miami-Dade County drivers often expect heavy traffic snarls on the Dolphin Expressway. Traffic flow during game days at the 25,000-seat Miami Freedom Park soccer stadium will prove challenging.
The stadium is off the highly trafficked stretch near the Miami International Airport. Traffic engineers believe careful planning could prevent drivers' headaches, according to a study commissioned by David Beckham and his group of investors.
Building a new ramp at Northwest 42nd Avenue, changing the timing of lights at intersections and managing access to parking garages are some of the measures the traffic engineers at Coral Gables-based David Plummer & Associates suggested.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez have said they both want to make sure that the soccer stadium doesn't interfere with operations at Miami International Airport.
"That's the lead economic generator of Miami-Dade," Gimenez said.
Major League Soccer usually has 17 home games a season. The study, which looked future conditions in 2025, anticipates most of the Inter Miami CF games will be held Saturday and Sunday nights when roads are less crowded.
Traffic engineers believe the ideal times for the Saturday game day arrival are from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and the departure period from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
The engineers also suggested adding a full-access driveway on Northwest 14th Street midway between Northwest 42nd Avenue and the westbound Dolphin Expressway ramp.
There are more traffic studies to come. Suarez said the city will be conducting an environmental and traffic analysis. If the project goes forward, Gimenez said Miami-Dade County will also be conducting a traffic report.