Tag Archives: drainage

Urban flood advisory for Miami Beach

If the rains of the last two days weren’t enough — and they left water standing in Sunset Harbour — the National Weather Service just posted an urban flood advisory for Miami Beach with today’s deluge.

By noon, three to four inches of rain had been recorded along the Tuttle Causeway, and about three inches on Miami Beach.  More thunderstorms are expected this afternoon.


Alton Road construction begins Monday at Belle Isle’s doorstep

FDOT map shows construction schedule.

FDOT map shows construction schedule.

The long-awaited Alton Road construction project — a $32 million, 28-month effort to reconstruct the key west Miami Beach roadway from Fifth Street to Michigan Avenue — kicks off on Monday.

And the first area where roadwork will happen is the northern section of the project, from Dade Boulevard north to Michigan, according to the construction schedule.

Next week, the Florida Department of Transportation will set up equipment and material and begin removing palms, landscaping and curbing. They may close one northbound or southbound lane.

By the week of April 8,work crews will begin excavating the roadway, installing the new water main and setting up temporary street lighting. One southbound lane may be closed and the southbound left turn lane on Alton Road at Dade Boulevard will be converted to a through travel lane. By the end of April, the excavation work will extend south to 17th Street

Meanwhile, the first work on the south part of the project will involve checking for underground lines on Fifth, 10th and 14th streets in preparation for drainage work. Lanes may be closed between Alton and West Avenue and West and Bay Road.

Ah, the fun begins.


At last, Miami Beach approves Venetian islands streetscape construction contract


After almost 10 years of planning, delays and funding challenges, Miami Beach voted Wednesday to hire a contractor for the $11.4 million Venetian Island Streetscape project.

The Venetian Island Homeowners Association has pushed for the improvements to Rivo Alto, DiLido and San Marino islands since at least 2003.

Drawings for the streetscape show great detail

Streetscape drawings show great detail

The project includes storm drainage, road construction, sidewalks (on DiLido and Rivo Alto, electrical wiring, lighting and landscaping. The contract — and nearly $11.4 million in work — was awarded to Lanzo Construction Co.

Back in October, VIHA president Jürgen Brendel told homeowners they would see a “spade in the ground” by early this year.

He may be right. Work should start soon. Because the work is focused on the internal island streets, the impact on Venetian Causeway traffic is expected to be minimal.

Update: Here is a note the VIHA president sent to island residents Thursday morning — project roughly 14 months of construction starting in June or July.

Hello Fellow Venetians

The Board of VIHA is pleased to announce that the Miami Beach Commission has today given the go-ahead for the VENETIAN ISLANDS INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.

We were told this is a 14 months construction period (please don’t hold me to that) and it would start in June/July.

To field any questions, we will hold a membership meeting in late April/early May.

After so many years, we are glad this is finally a reality and it was a team effort of the Board consisting of Debbie, Paula, Emmanuel and myself.

With best regards,

Jürgen Brendel
President VIHA

Venetian Causeway construction won’t be done til mid September — hopefully

Work undone includes leveling pavement with sidewalks and curbs and finishing medians.

The reconstruction of the historic Venetian Causeway — with wider sidewalks, pink crosswalks, vintage light posts, better drainage and repaving — is eight months behind schedule, and counting.

If you live on the Venetian, you know the route between mainland Miami and Miami Beach has been an obstacle course of lane changes and uneven pavement. You’ve cringed as your car shuddered over uneven crosswalks and elevated manhole covers.

When Venetian homeowners met with the Miami-Dade Public Works officials in late May, the official word was that work would be done by late July, barring surprises and bad weather.

Now, the timetable is mid-September, Miami-Dade County says.

“Weather delays and unexpected conflicts have pushed the substantial completion of the project,” said Francisco Calderon, communications manager for the Miami-Dade Public Works and Waste Management Division.

There is some progress. Landscaping is being installed in some median areas (on Belle Isle, for instance), Calderon said.

“Additionally, some concrete islands and sidewalks are currently under construction, and streetlight activities (installation of conduit and pull boxes) are in progress.”

But there is a fairly substantial list of items to be completed in the next six weeks, the county says, including:

— The irrigation system for the landscaping.

— Final sidewalk and concrete island work.

— Removal of the tall, old metal street lights that are being replaced by the new (old-looking) lights.

— Final layers of asphalt and pavement marking and signs.

— Odds and ends.

Calderon said people should know that some of the ongoing work on Biscayne and San Marco islands in Miami is not being done by the county and is on a different timeline.

“The city of Miami is currently constructing a stormwater pump station and related piping on San Marco Island. Additionally, the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department is installing water piping and street lights on North Venetian Dr. in Biscayne Island.”


Miami-Dade County: Venetian Causeway construction should be done by July

Miami-Dade construction chief Bassam Moubayed explains problems with Venetian Causeway construction.

The long, painful reconstruction of the Venetian Causeway — with its erratic lane shifts, jarring bumps, cyclist and pedestrian hazards — should be complete by the end of July, Miami-Dade’s County Public Works Department construction chief said Wednesday night.

“By July, it should be done,” Bassam Moubayed told impatient members of the Venetian Isle Residents Association. Being done means a final layer of pavement in place, flush with the pink crosswalks and manhole covers.

Unless there is lots of rain, Moubayed said. That could delay completion of the project, which is already nearly five months behind schedule.

“Pray for dry weather,” said Venetian Isles Residents Association president Greg Carney.

Bad weather is one reason the project — which includes wider sidewalks, new lighting, drainage and crosswalks — is so late. But so are the myriad surprises contractors found while doing the work, Moubayed said, like electric and gas lines in different places from shown on plans.

When the causeway work is complete, the city of Miami Beach will begin work on the individual Venetian Islands, installing new drains, sidewalks, lighting and landscaping.

Belle Isle stays dry while Sunset Harbour, SoBe flood

The continuing rain during the weekend ought to provide the final test on the drainage fix on Belle Isle: finally, finally, it works.

While Sunset Harbour floods in heavy rain (and seemingly no rain during high tide), we had no standing water throughout our rain-soaked Halloween weekend.  In fact, you had bigger puddles in Belle Isle Park than in front of the Grand Venetian, where high tide used to assure a pool of bay water.

Meanwhile, across the bridge near Sunset Harbour, the corner of Purdy and 20th Street had water overflowing the curb Saturday night and Sunday night, continuing early Monday morning. The valets for the trio of Pubbelly restaurants had to move their stand to Bay Road so passengers could exit the cars.

Flooding on San Marco Island left the island almost impassable early Monday.

Monday morning, the Venetian Causeway was nearly impassable at San Marco Island, where flooding related to the rain and ongoing construction left water nearly knee-high.

It took the city several years and at least two failed fixes to stop the regular flooding on Belle Isle, and it cost residents tens of thousands of dollars in rust damage to their cars.

Venetian Causeway construction creeps forward with February end date unlikely

We have another Venetian Causeway construction update, as we enter the last quarter of 2011 with the roadway a mess and work dragging on.

Several points on the causeway — San Marco Island in particular — provide a white knuckle experience, even at 20 miles an hour, with bicyclists, joggers, cars and buses competing for space on a roadway with deep potholes and 90-degree curves.

Last week, Venetian Island Homeowner Association president Greg Carney relayed news that the work on Rivo Alto, DiLido and San Marino islands was about to switch from the north to south side of the causeway, but that shift hasn’t happened yet.

Now Venetian Causeway Neighborhood Association head Jack Hartog has shared a progress report from the county that targets the completion of the work on the causeway itself (not island interior streets) at February, 2012.

That doesn’t include the San Marco work, which is part of a Miami-Dade County water line project and a city of Miami drainage project. That effort — right now the most difficult traffic challenge — is a particular irritant to Hartog,  who lives on San Marco.

It is a “major mess in what is in effect my back yard (I wake up almost every week day morning at 7 am to the sound of heavy moving equipment warming up, just moving, or making that really annoying rear motion beeping sound).”

Hartog said “the MDC Project Manager reports as of Sept. 1, 2011 the following as a  Construction Status Summary:

— The relocation and removal of trees — 30% complete.

— The subsoil excavation — 0% completed.

— The embankment activities — 30% completed.

— The subgrade activities — 33% completed.

— The drainage activities — 40% complete.

— The Traffic Signal and Lighting activities — 15% complete.

— The roadway base activity — 25% complete.

— The activities requiring concrete work — 15% complete.

— The first lift of asphalt paving — 18% complete.

— The sodding activity — 0% complete.

— At present,  the project completion is Feb. 2012.”

He summarized this way: “I think February 2012 as a completion date is very ambitious (and that end date, to my knowledge, in any event will not include the final landscaping, because I have been told the County will use its own resources to do the landscaping).

“It is also, of course, one month later than promised. Some of the delay, I have been told, was due to unexpected buried structures found at the outset of the project and FPL coordination issues, so the contractor apparently is not
responsible for at least those parts of the delay.”

Belle Isle drainage fix seems to be working — but not before heavy cost to residents

The pink sidewalk and curbing has been replaced. Island Avenue and the causeway in front of the Grand Venetian are dry.

It looks like the Belle Isle drainage fix actually worked.

But not before many Belle Isle residents suffered damage to their cars from repeatedly driving through salt water flooding on Island Avenue.

The drainage fix, which involved replacing an old and clogged outfall pipe with a new and larger one, was declared successful by new capital improvements director Fernando Vazquez at last week’s Miami Beach City Commission meeting.

“In principal, what we have seen so far is optimal,” Vazquez said. ”

We’ve documented the failed efforts and frequent floods on the island.

Last week, Belle Isle Residents Association president Scott Diffenderfer thanked city commissioners for their efforts, but pointed out that during years of failed effort to fix the drainage problem, the city created a situation that caused the streets to flood with bay water even when it didn’t rain. Belle Isle residents warned for years that the project wasn’t engineered right, but the city didn’t listen.

“This is a lesson the city really needs to take to heart,” Diffenderfer said. “Belle Isle never had a salt water issue until this project started. This city pump forced salt water from the bay…on to our streets.

“We are in the to hundreds of thousands of dollars of totalled cars” from rust caused by salt-water, he said. “…This was created by the city.  hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage — two-year-old cars that go in for brake jobs and are totalled out.”

Commissioner Michael Gongora said “all we can do is apologize for what happened in the past.”

Adding Commissioner Jonah Wolfson: “It is true, there were years there where it just fell through the cracks.”

Said Commissioner Ed Tobin: There’s no excuse for what had been going on here for many, many years….i will tell you that there needs to be more accountability….Unfortunately, some employees need to be let go….to say we asre taking more careful measures now….”

You can watch a video of the entire discussion.

Belle Isle drainage fix tests positive; city mulls next step

Belle Isle’s drainage fix might finally work!

The project manager on the star-crossed project informed the island homeowner association president on Tuesday that the repair work passed its test this week, and the city is scheduling when the sidewalk and curbs will be completed in front of the Grand Venetian condo.

In a note to Belle Isle Homeowner Association president Scott Diffenderfer, capital improvements project manager Carla Dixon gave a positive report. According to Diffenderfer:

“From what I see and understand, it seems the system is finally working as it was designed.  They did discover that the other outflow pipes are in poor condition but I don’t think they are responsible for causing the problems that have been occurring.”

From Dixon’s note:

The new 18-inch stormwater outfall pipe was tested and receives the flows intended without water spilling out of the manhole (CS-3). We are currently working with the Public Works Department and the pump maufacturer to provide additional components (rain sensor, gauges, ect.) for the pump stationset to o, and will reset the pumps to opperate as intended by Jacobs. One pump will be set to operate in a rain event and the second pump will only be used as back-up in extreme events or emergencies.  The City’s long term plans include the replacement of the west and north outfall pipes which are also in poor condition.

With regard to the schedule for completing the curbs and sidewalks, I will give you an update once I receive the date from the contractor.  This work should not take more than a week to complete.

As Belle Isle drainage work proceeds, we need to know: Is your car rusting?

Sea water bubbling up from sewer on Jan. 21 on Venetian Way.

The city of Miami Beach, after years of delays and fixes that didn’t work, says it will have the latest drainage solution for Belle Isle in place by the end of May.

But many Belle Isle residents may have permanent damage from the pumped up baywater that resulted from more than four years of futility in trying to fix the problem.

Capital Improvement Coordinator Carla Dixon, who has overseen the ill-fated project, sent this note to the Belle Isle Homeowners Association:

The contractor for the Belle Isle East Outfall Project remobilized on Monday May 2nd and has installed piping up to the existing seawall, core drilled through the seawall, and is preparing to install piping through the seawall this week.  Once the piping is installed, the contractor will restore the seawall including the immediate vicinity of the bridge abutment. Weather (tides) permitting, the remaining work is anticipated to be completed by the end of May 2011.

Meanwhile, the association has received complaints from many island residents who say they have been told by mechanics working on their cars that the underside — including brake lines — are rusting.

President Scott Diffenderfer told Belle Isle Blog: “Ironically I took my own car in a couple of weeks ago for what I thought was the need for power steering fluid and was told I had a rusting steering column…close to $3K to replace.”

Nine Island resident Merle Weiss has a similar problem. And the Belle Isle Blog’s own car developed a rusted undercarriage, something our mechanic said “I’ve never seen on a car this new.”

Diffenderfer wants to document the damage to cars on the island. If this has happened to you, post a comment on the blog and we’ll get you in touch with the right people. Said Diffenderfer:

“In other neighborhoods, the City’s lack of planning to stop water intrusion at high tide is negligent but I guess can be considered a natural phenomenon.  In our neighborhood, we never had salt water at high tide until the City installed the pumps. It’s very clear that this project is responsible for this situation and the damage that continues to occur.”