WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - The aftermath of the Florida International University bridge collapse caused new traffic patterns for commuters on one of South Florida’s busiest roads.
7Skyforce hovered above the scene Friday morning, where Southwest Eighth Street remained shut down east and westbound between 107th and 117th avenues, in West Miami-Dade.
Drivers who take the roadway past the campus on a regular basis spoke to 7News about the change to their usual route. “A five-minute drive has turned into a 15,” said a motorist.
Thursday afternoon’s bridge collapse killed six people, Miami-Dade Police said, and recovery efforts remain ongoing.
“This continues to be a multi-agency effort that will take some time,” said a Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson. “We’re advising that Southwest Eighth Street will remain closed indefinitely between Southwest 107th Avenue and 117th Avenue.”
In the meantime, officials said, commuters can travel north and southbound on 107th Avenue.
Frustrated drivers who became stuck in traffic on Friday are now left searching for new routes.
“I’m probably going to lose at least 30, 40 minutes in the morning,” said resident Lazaro Garcia. “I gotta wake up earlier, wake [my son] up earlier. Kids don’t like to wake up so early in the morning. I think it’s going to be bad.”
“We were supposed to make a left way over there, but that’s all blocked off, so now we have to go around Sweetwater and cut through the back,” said a motorist.
“It’s very frustrating, because we live right there on Fourth Street and it’s closed, so we have to drive around,” said another driver.
“The way I take my son to school is this way, then I’d jump on the Turnpike,” said Garcia. “Now I gotta go around. It’s going to be very, very, very hectic in the morning.”
The most efficient way to reach FIU or the surrounding area is to exit the highway at Bird Road and then drive east toward 107th Avenue, which will take motorists onto the campus.
“I go to school on the other side and now it’s going to cause more traffic and I’m gonna be late to school, and I’m going to be late to work, too,” said FIU student Stephanie Arguello.
Another alternate route to FIU’s campus that remains open is to take the Florida Turnpike northbound toward the Dolphin Expressway, then travel east on the Dolphin Expressway to 107th Avenue and head south.
“It’s annoying, but at the same time we have to focus on the victims and making them feel better,” said a resident. “Just giving them the resources that they need.”
FHP mapped out different routes for drivers Friday morning, suggesting Coral Way, which runs parallel to Southwest Eighth Street.
Adding to the traffic congestion, a car burst into flames on Coral Way and Southwest 122nd Avenue. Fire rescue crews worked quickly to put out the flames.
Despite the traffic, the 2018 Youth Fair will still take place a few blocks away from the scene of the collapsed bridge. The fair has advised drivers to take alternate routes, like using Bird Road and Coral Way.
While police continue their investigation, and crews begin the cleanup process, drivers said sitting in traffic is nothing compared to what the victims and their families are dealing with.
“It’s annoying, but based on what happened, you just gotta deal with it,” said a driver.
Officials have not specified when Southwest Eighth Street will reopen.
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