Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Improvement ahead on Commodore Trail

A long-anticipated repair and upgrade of the popular Commodore Trail is to begin as early as Monday or Tuesday next week. The official start of the 10-month project is March 26, and the contractor, Metro Express of Medley, has a five-day window to mobilize at Bayshore Drive and Aviation Avenue, the north end of the project.

The trail extends from the mainland head of the Rickenbacker Causeway through Coconut Grove to Cartagena Circle, where LeJeune Road, Sunset Drive, and Old Cutler Road converge. It probably is used by runners as much as by cyclists. Both groups of users are vexed by the trail's narrow width, by conflict with parked and moving cars, and by tree roots and wayward shrubbery.

The right-of-way is so narrow at some spots that the improvement will be small, said project manager Frank Mendoza of the Miami-Dade County public works department. Pavement that's been lifted by tree roots will be cut down and smoothed out -- but in order to protect the trees the roots are not to be pruned.

Perhaps the biggest part of the project, and the one that had been expected to kick it off, is the installation of a foot- and bicycle bridge across the Coral Gables Waterway near the LeJeune bridge.  The existing bridge has only a narrow walkway and when there's auto traffic that presents a challenge to the morning runners who pass that way during their training routines.

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