Tag Archives: Collins Canal

Overdue Dade Boulevard bike path won’t be done for a while

If you bicycle or jog across South Beach, you probably cheered the proposed bike and pedestrian path along Dade Boulevard and the Collins Canal when Miami Beach began work on it two years ago.

And now you think: Will it ever be finished?

The Miami Herald reports that yes, it will get finished. When?

Would you believe 2015?

That’s about two years behind schedule.

For now, there is an asphalt path, no landscaping, and lighting that works along one stretch (between Meridian and Convention Center Drive. Sigh.

Miami Beach scrambles to stay above high water — on Collins Canal and elsewhere

Collins Canal seawall work at Bay Road.

Collins Canal seawall work at Bay Road (photo by Josh Fisher)

If you live on Belle Isle, in Sunset Harbour or the West Avenue corridor, no one has to tell you about sea rise and flooding — you’ve experienced it first-hand on dry days during high tide.

City engineers are predicting another bout of high water during April, at the same time several projects large and small move ahead to battle the salt water.

Bay Road and Collins Canal in November, 2012.

Bay Road and Collins Canal in November, 2012 (Josh Fisher).

Along the Collins Canal, work continues on the new seawall and adjacent bike and pedestrian path. Thanks to Belle Isle’s Josh Fisher for these photos of the sea wall work where Bay Road dead-ends on the south side of the canal, from last week and a comparative shot during a high-water period in November 2012.

Construction continues on the pumping stations in Sunset Harbour in an attempt to bring relief in particular to the mess at Purdy and Venetian Way across from Maurice Gibb Park and the corner of Purdy and 20th Street at the Pubbelly curve.

Location of drainage construction corridors.

Location of drainage construction corridors.

And April is when construction is supposed to begin on the much talked avout Alton Road reconstruction project, which includes new pumping stations at Fifth, 10th and 14th streets.

Collins Canal bike path should be complete by late April, city says

Bike path and seawall work between Alton Road and Michigan.

Bike path and seawall work between Alton Road and Michigan.

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.

More Dade Boulevard closures for Collins Canal bikeway construction

A reminder: Construction of the bikeway and running path along the Collins Canal on Dade Boulevard will make running and riding safer from Belle Isle all the way to the beach.

Think about that as you navigate around the short-term inconvenience of road closures and lane shifts on Dade Boulevard.

The activity today involves shifting eastbound and westbound lanes on Dade between Michigan and Meridian avenues to the north, leaving one lane in each direction.  This is the area between the Dade Boulevard Publix (the old Publix) and Miami Beach High School.

Crews will be working on the Collins Avenue seawall. The regular traffic pattern should be restored on Friday. Eastbound detours at the 17th Street/Dade Boulevard bridge (Between the split and Alton Road) continue.

Get ready to detour; Dade Boulevard closing again

Dade Boulevard will be closed eastbound from the bridge at the split with 17th Street Bridge to Alton Road starting early Friday morning, and traffic will be detoured through 17th Street.

It’s part of the continuing construction of the Collins Canal bikeway, and will continue for much of the next week.

Next on the Miami Beach roadwork agenda: Alton Road

We hoped the frustrating Venetian Causeway-Dade Boulevard road construction circus to be done by the end of July, but summer rains seem to have slowed progress even more.

With work likely to push through August, here’s something new to anticipate: construction on Alton Road.

The City Commission on Wednesday is expected to authorize work by the Florida Department of Transportation on Alton Road from Michigan Avenue (just south of Miami Beach Golf Club) all the way to Fifth Street.

The work will start next April (by then, pleas let the causeway and Collins Canal construction be complete) and will take at least a year. It will include roadway, sidewalk, curb and gutter replacement, along with new landscaping and lighting.

There is a silver lining in all of this. The work is supposed to bring drainage improvements to Alton, which is notorious for flooding. There will be new stormwater pumping stations built at Fifth, 10th and 14th streets.

Miami Beach Commission approves West Avenue bridge

Miami Beach City Commissioners on Wednesday approved the concept of building a West Avenue bridge over the Collins Canal to provide a direct route from South Beach to Sunset Harbour.

In a 6-1 vote, commissioners decided to exercise an option for property held by the Miami Beach Housing Authority at West Avenue between 17th Street and the Collins Canal. That land provides the path for the bridge crossing.

Commissioners chose this configuration for the bridge.

Their vote backed a recommendation from Florida Department of Transportation consultants for a bridge that includes one northbound lane and two southbound lanes, one for cars turning left on to 17th Street from Sunset Harbour. The recommendation included bike lanes and a separate sidewalk in each direction.

The vote  also called for the commission’s Neighborhoods committee to explore the impact of a bridge that included a northbound right turn lane to 17th Street, and traffic calming measures for West Avenue south of Lincoln Road.

Commissioner Jorge Exposito said he supported the bridge but didn’t want to be locked in to the specific configuration supported by planners, and wanted them to explore adding a right turn lane at 17th Street.

Commissioner Jerry Libben voted no. (Note, an earlier version of this post incorrectly said Expositio had voted no).

Planners have said it will be two years before work will start on the bridge, but the commission had to decide on whether to acquire the right-of-way from the Housing Authority by May 2. If they did not act, the Housing Authority had several bidders interested in buying the land for development.

During nearly two hours of discussion, commissioners heard from several West Avenue residents who worried the bridge would attract more traffic and congestion to their neighborhood, as commuters seek to avoid Alton Road.

Supporters of the bridge said the traffic will come with or without the bridge. And residents of Sunset Harbour said with the restaurant and retail boom in their area — and the construction of the new city parking garage — the bridge is a necessity.

“Sunset Harbour is now a destination,” said Frank Kruszewski, a leader in the Sunset Harbour condominium association. “You have to do this when you have the opportunity.”

More delays, closures, on Venetian Causeway and Dade Boulevard this week

Are Belle Isle and the Venetian Islands  the epicenter of road construction?

If you drew a line from west edge of the Venetian Causeway and followed it to the Atlantic at 21st Street, you’d see earth movers and paving equipment all along the path.

Of course, if you live in neighborhoods north of Dade Boulevard and Miami Beach Golf Course, you’d get to enjoy a sewer line project, too.

In the spirit of survival and maintaining sanity, here’s this week’s road report:

— Dade Boulevard will be closed eastbound from Michigan to Meridian avenues for work on the Collins Canal pedestrian-bike path. Westbound Dade Boulevard will be open to all traffic. This will remain the case through mid-April, according to the city of Miami Beach.

— On the Venetian Causeway, the installation of pink concrete crosswalks is nearly done, and repaving the road is moving ahead on Rivo Alto, DiLido, San Marino and San Marco islands. At varying times, only one lane will be open, and flagmen will be directly traffic. Expect slowdowns and tire crunching bumps on the route.

— Miami-Dade County public works, which is overseeing the Venetian Causeway work, is winding down this phase of the work — with the finish in sight. Expect smooth sailing in about a month — hopefully before the rainy season. Then we’ll see how the new drains work.

And if that isn’t enough: There is a public hearing on Tuesday,  March 27 on the proposed West Avenue Bridge. It happens at the Miami Beach Regional Library, 227 22nd St. (and don’t try to get there by going east on Dade Boulevard). The meeting room opens at 6 p.m. and the presentation starts at 6:30 p.m.

There is parking behind the library.


Planners meet public in Sunset Harbour on proposed West Avenue Bridge

The West Avenue Bridge information campaign travels to Sunset Harbour tonight at 6 p.m. The meeting happens in the Sunset Harbour south tower, seventh floor clubhouse, 1800 Sunset Harbour Dr.

The city of Miami Beach has until May 2 to decide whether to exercise an option for an easement on a small triangle of land owned by the Miami Beach Housing Authority north of 17th Street and the Collins Canal at West Avenue, which would provide the path for a bridge linking the West Avenue neighborhoods west of Epicure with the booming little Sunset Harbour hood.

The Florida Department of Transportation has had two public hearings to tell residents about options for the bridge (one is not to build a bridge at all) and gather feedback, and has another planned for 6:15 p.m. on March 27 at the Miami Beach Regional Library, 277 22nd St.

The Sunset Harbour meeting is the third planners have held with neighborhood groups; they met earlier this month with homeowners in Flamingo Park and on the Sunset Islands.

Next West Avenue Bridge public meeting set; Miami Beach faces May deadline on land

One of the West Avenue bridge options.

With a key decision on whether to build a bridge over the Collins Canal on West Avenue less than four months away, the Florida Department of Transportation has scheduled its next public meeting on the proposal for March 27.

Housing Authority parcel is south of the Colllins Canal

The city of Miami Beach has until May 2 to decide whether to exercise an option for an easement on a small triangle of land owned by the Miami Beach Housing Authority north of 17th Street and the Collins Canal at West Avenue, according to city public works engineer Rick Saltrick.

If the city exercises the option, planning for a bridge connecting Sunset Harbour and the area west of Epicure would move forward. A final decision on whether to build the bridge — and its features, if built — would come later.

But if the city commission doesn’t act on the Housing Authority option, there is no path across the canal, and the project essentially dies right there.

The state DOT held an earlier public forum on the bridge proposal on Nov. 15, in which it presented four options, including building no bridge at all. Many residents who attended the meeting proposed another idea — a bike- and pedestrian-only bridge.

There was much enthusiasm from residents around the no-car bridge, but it looks like it isn’t possible. There is still no mention of it on the project website, which lists the other construction options.

Here is the short description of the project from the site:

The proposed West Avenue Bridge would span the Collins Canal, which is a city-owned manmade canal.  Proposed improvements would likely include approximately 110 feet of new roadway and an approximately 55 foot long low-level fixed bridge over the Collins Canal.  The bridge would include two northbound and southbound through-lanes and possibly turn lanes as well as bike lanes and sidewalks on each side.

At the Belle Isle Residents Association meeting on Jan. 18, homeowner association president Scott Diffenderfer said residents shouldn’t delude themselves about a bridge that doesn’t carry cars.

The funding that’s in place from state and federal sources is specifically for a road for vehicles. If the city wants a bike-only bridge, it will pay for it on its own, he said.

The March 27 meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Miami Beach Regional Library, 277 22 St.