Pineda Plaza enjoys new overpass traffic

The new Pineda off-ramp is a helpful addition to the surrounding businesses.

Cut off for many months from westbound traffic during construction of a $24 million Pineda Causeway overpass, business owners in Pineda Plaza are thrilled that potential customers are driving past their offices and shops once more.

“I’m glad it’s done,” Linda Phillips, owner of Hair Secrets & Spa, said of a recently completed off-ramp that enables drivers on the Maj. Gen. John Cleland Memorial Bridge to exit onto Pineda Plaza Way.

The original Pineda Causeway alignment to Wickham Road was closed after overpass construction began in July 2018. Until the new off-ramp opened, westbound visitors approaching Pineda Plaza had to drive to the realigned Pineda Causeway-Wickham Road intersection, turn right onto Wickham and then turn right again at Pineda Plaza Way.

“I started on the beachside with my first salon, and a lot of my clients come over the causeway, so not having that exit, having to go to WaWa and come around was a little confusing for them,” said Phillips, who employs a staff of 13 at her two-story, 2,400-square-foot salon at 2955 Pineda Plaza Way, Suites 102 and 201. “Everyone still came over and they griped, but after they opened it up, everyone came in smiling.”

The four-lane bridge between U.S. 1 and Wickham Road elevates motorists about 25 feet above the Florida East Coast Railway railroad tracks. The flyover should improve barrier-island hurricane evacuations and prevent traffic jams from FEC Railway and Virgin Trains, which expects to run passenger service between Orlando International Airport and Miami by late 2022.

The bridge’s eastbound lanes opened to traffic in March 2020, but normal construction delays and COVID-19 challenges likely have pushed the project’s total completion date until March, according to Brevard County Government Communications Director Don Walker.