Tag Archives: Streetscape project

With Venetian Causeway smoothed out, now comes Isles streetscape

So, finally, the Venetian Causeway is a nice smooth ride.

There is detail work to finish — medians aren’t done, not all the lights work, etc…. — but you can drive the road without wrecking your car suspension and jog the causeway without risking your life. You can tell that when it’s all complete, it’s going to look good.

And with that project reaching conclusion, the Streetscape work on Rivo Alto, DiLido and San Marino islands comes next. The good news — really good news — is the money is in place.

When the city of Miami Beach passed its budget on Sept. 27, it included $2.1 million to cover a shortfall in the Streetscape project.n  As a result, the project is expected to move forward. Bids are due on Oct. 31.

“Finally, it looks like the end of this year or early next year will see a ‘spade in the ground’ for a long-awaited Venetian Islands Streetscape Project,” Venetian Islands Homeowner Association president Jürgen Brendel said in an email to homeowners this week.

City Commissioner Deede Weithorn told homeowners during a meeting in June that she would get the additional $2.1 million included in the Miami Beach budget.

After the Sept. 27 vote, she told homeowners: “we are one step closer to bringing these much needed improvements to fruition.”

With Venetian Causeway delays, island streetscape project falls behind

The delays in completing the Venetian Causeway construction project — now expected to be done at the end of July — mean that work on sidewalk, lighting and landscaping upgrades on the Venetian Isles won’t be begin until about November, according to the city of Miami Beach.

The causeway reconstruction project, which includes wider sidewalks, drainage, lighting and crosswalks on the historic route between Miami and Miami Beach, is about seven months behind schedule due to an array of construction problems, ranging from rain delays to difficulties with underground utilities.

The original budget for the Streetscape project for Rivo Alto, DiLido and San Marino isles was $7.8 million. But moving underground water and sewer lines to make way for the Venetian work cost the city about $1 million.

Right now, the county expects to complete the work on the Venetian by the end of July. The city of Miami Beach is planning to invite bids on the island streetscape work on June 1, said Fernando Vazquez, Miami Beach’s director of capital improvements.

Typically, that is a 45-60 day process. If all goes well, the city would follow up with notices to proceed, and work could start sometime around November, Vazquez told homeowners at a meeting last week.

The capital improvement department will ask for another $1 million during the city’s capital improvement budgeting process, which happens in July.

At a meeting with Venetian Causeway Homeowner Association members, Vazquez said he will let VIHA members know when the City Commission meets on the capital money so they can urge that commissioners approve the additional funds.

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.


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.”

Venetian Causeway construction shift likely this week

Venetian Island homeowners have been told the heavy construction work on the north side of the Venetian Causeway could conclude this week, allowing it to be opened for traffic so the construction project can move to the south side of the causeway.

In an email to Venetian Island Homeowner Association members, VIHA president Greg Carney wrote:

I understand from the County’s Project Manager that they will try to finish paving (a preliminary pavement good for traffic, but not the final layer or the final landscaping) the north side areas of the Causeway by the end of this week so that they can move the construction work to the south side.  They will be putting up the Jersey Barriers again and excavate so they can put in the new drainage structures.  The travel lanes will switch to the north side.  They are still targeting sometime just after the beginning of the year to complete all the work on the Causeway.

It’s unclear when the interior street work will begin for the streetscape project.

How to stay safe navigating the Venetian Causeway construction course

Construction crew readies for work on Belle Isle on Wednesday.

Now that construction has resumed on the Belle Isle drainage project in front of the Grand Venetian, 10 Venetian Way, we have active construction and barricades on every island between mainland Miami and Miami Beach except Biscayne.

Daytime driving on the Venetian Causeway is an exercise in patience and precision, with drivers, bikers, runners and Miami-Dade Transit buses jostling along a tightrope of concrete barriers on the 2.6-mile trek.

On Tuesday at lunchtime, two stretches of causeway were reduced to one lane, creating backups at Belle Isle and at San Marino Island. It’s a situation that likely will continue until January, 2012, when a series of projects should (hopefully) conclude.

Here’s an update on the projects and some coping suggestions for Venetian Island residents:

— The Belle Isle drainage project, which started Oct. 25, but has been delayed for months due to underground surprises at the base of the bridge, should be finished by the end of May. For the next couple of weeks, expect weekday delays for workers and inconveniences for walkers and bikers.

— The roadwork (and storm drain construction) on the north side of Rivo Alto, DiLido, San Marino and San Marco islands will result eventually in better island drainage and six-foot-wide sidewalks and new curbs and gutters on that side of the causeway.  That’s the good news. But once the road reconstruction and lighting on the north side of the islands is complete, the construction — and the barricades — will shift to the south side of those islands for similar work.

— Work on the Venetian Island Streetscape project will begin later this year, and will mean construction on all of the side streets on Rivo Alto, DiLido and San Marco. That work will have little impact on causeway traffic, but will be disruptive to island residents. It will result in wider sidewalks, new landscaping and lighting on all the islands. It also will mean many homeowners will lose landscaping and fencing they have constructed within the public right-of-way along the street.

— On Belle Isle, work will begin later this year to replace street lights and traffic signals. The street lights will be 15-foot decorative poles, similar in style to those on the Venetian Causeway bridges.

— In the last week, the county installed new yellow “Share the Road” signs, highlighting the conflicts between of cars and bikes on the causeway.

At last week’s Venetian Island Homeowners Association meeting, some residents complained about the hazard of bikers crowding into more narrow space along the causeway. One wanted police to ticket bikers “who ride three abreast” while crossing the causeway.

But cyclists have the same rights to the roadway as cars, Miami Beach Police Captain Greg Butler told homeowners. “They are entitled to the lane,” said Butler, who oversees the middle district of Miami Beach, from 17th to 63rd streets, including the Venetian Causeway.

Bicyclists could be ticketed for failing to obey traffic lights — they have to observe the same rules as cars –but that seldom happens, Butler said.

His advice: Go slow. Be patient. It’s a short trip.

Venetian Islands homeowners to get construction, security briefing

The Venetian Islands Homeowners Association holds a general membership meeting Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, 2000 Convention Center Dr.

In an email to homeowner association members, VIHA president Greg Carney said Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County officials will be at the meeting to update residents on the various Venetian Causeway construction projects and security issues. There will be a question and answer session as well.

The meeting is open to all causeway residents, but Carney would like to hear from people who plan to attend so they are prepared to handle the crowd. He is reachable at greg_carney2001@yahoo.com.