Naturalized Highways | Palmetto Expresway

Miami-Dade County, FL

FLASLA Award of Excellence

At Curtis + Rogers we believe that we have the ability and responsibility to positively impact our cities, people, and environment through thoughtful design. With that approach, we have re-envisioned three interchanges along a harsh portion of the Palmetto Expressway.  A vision inspired by the existing industrial environment, lost natural environments, and the motorist experience.  We focused on naturalizing the interchanges via ecological patches that can serve as habitat rich stepping stones that allow the highway to serve as a facilitator in re-establishing natural systems.

The development of the vegetated littoral shelf along the pond was an innovative collaboration between FDOT and C+R. What normally would have been a basic retention pond fenced off for the protection of maintenance workers, was allowed to be naturalized if a seat shelf was provided for safety. The incorporation of a shelf along the perimeter of the pond allowed for the creation of a native aquatic habitat.

By numbers, our final design incorporated 35 different South Florida native species; restored over 22 acres of native habitat and captured approximately 6 tons of carbon dioxide and 771,000 gallons of rainfall each year by newly planted trees.