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Redland residents claim not enough is being done to fix their "dangerous" roads

Redland residents seek answers for roads in rough conditions
Redland residents seek answers for roads in rough conditions 04:59

UPDATE: Miami-Dade County shared an update Tuesday on a significant road resurfacing project that is set to begin in July. One of the roads featured in our story, SW 217 Avenue from SW 360 Street to SW 392 Street within Miami-Dade County Commission District  9, will include "milling and resurfacing, adjustment of valve boxes and manholes, ADA Ramps and connectors,  pavement markings, and signage."

Earlier story follows: 

MIAMI - Community members are demanding that something be done about the "dangerous" road conditions in Redland.

"It's like a third-world country," said Redland farmer Michael Wanek, who pointed out that standing water floods SW 217th Avenue near SW 384th Street, even on a sunny day.

"We've been trying to get their attention for years," said Wanek.

The county-owned stretch of road is one of many Wanek believes needs resurfacing.

"It just keeps getting deferred and ends up with something dangerous," he said. "It's a public safety risk."

Wanek said in May, he emailed the county's Department of Transportation of Public Works to address Redland road conditions. In their response, the acting chief of the Operations and Maintenance Office explained that Redland roads "fall outside the county's Urban Development Boundary," leaving "no allocated funding for resurfacing."

The response included ten intersections mentioning the "asphalt was in poor condition" and "needed evaluation to be resurfaced."

"Our comprehensive development master plan for years has really tried to hold the line, Urban Development Boundary line," said Miami-Dade's Chief Operations Officer Jimmy Morales. "Saying, between a road outside the UDB or ones inside the UDB, the priority should be to fix the roads inside because you're trying not to create the incentive for development outside the UDB."

As for the flooding on SW 217th Avenue and the number of gaping potholes on Redland roads, Morales said he's not surprised.

"We're seeing more development, which is requiring more investment in infrastructure," he said. "I think this is a transitional area and infrastructure sometimes plays a little bit of catch-up."

Last month, a county Agricultural Practices Advisory Board member claimed the county roads in Redland have received negligible maintenance over the last 35 years.

While not directly responding to that claim, Morales said the county has spent five million dollars resurfacing roads in Redland since 2018. He added that last year, around 13,000 pothole service requests were fulfilled county-wide.

When asked if he felt like the county was adequately addressing the road issues, Redland resident Diego Hurtado replied with a solid "no", saying that drivers actively avoid the potholes and the ones that have been repaired.

"Sometimes the repairs are worse than the potholes," said Hurtado.

"This is a street I don't drive anymore," Redland farmer Jorge Zaldivar said referring to SW 187th Avenue near SW 208th Street.

"I'm carrying plants," said Zaldivar. "I'm carrying fruits. They're delicate items. Agricultural products that I work hard to produce and sell. I'm not going to let a road destroy my vehicle or my crops."

Some residents have questioned how the county can invest in the World Cup experience but not in the daily life experience of some residents.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Danielle Cohen-Higgins sees their point.

"My answer is that I wholeheartedly agree," said Cohen-Higgins. "We need to get our house in order."

She suggests a county policy change to help a growing Redland.

"In our code, written in black and white, we are on the lower, if not the lowest end of the priority list," said Cohen-Higgins about Redland road repairs. "The dollars are being spent in higher trafficked areas, obviously on arterial roads."

Cohen-Higgins says her district has worked to secure hundreds of thousands to fill potholes in recent years. However, residents want more than a band-aide approach.

Morales adds that the county needs a bigger budget to repair roads. The county has $20 million allotted for high-traffic and collector roads and $13 million for the rest county-wide.

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