Stalled work on the Collins Canal seawall and bike path has resumed, and the project should be complete in late April, Belle Isle residents were told this week.
Construction on the seawall and bike path was halted last fall after Miami-Dade prosecutors arrested former Miami Beach procurement director Gus Lopez on 63 charges including racketeering, bid-tampering and illegal compensation in connection with a dozen different city contracts. The bike path contract, with Harbour Construction, is one of the projects tied to that investigation.
The city has decided to move forward with the work, said Rick Saltrick, chief capital projects engineer for the city.
“We stopped work for a while because of procurement issues,” he told a gathering of the Belle Isle Residents Association on Wednesday night. ” We decided to go ahead and let him finish….We shouldn’t punish the rest of the city” with an unfinished project.
Harbour Construction had already been been paid more than $3.6 million on the $4 million project. The Miami Herald reported that police said company employees admitted to falsifying a letter of credit and receiving leaked information about other companies’ bids.
The project extends the existing bike path from where Dade Boulevard splits off of 17th Street at the Collins Canal bridge to Convention Center Drive. In all, it’s 2,900 long, and will enable bikers, runners and parents pushing strollers to get from Belle Isle to the beach on a nice sidewalk all the way.
The improvements include raising the existing seawall to address times of high water. Completed, the path will feature a wider concrete path, landscaping and improved lighting using LED fixtures.