Miami Beach

Alton Road construction starts in effort to relieve Miami Beach flooding

 

Worse traffic and flooding could be in store as construction projects along Alton Road and Collins Avenue and work on I-395 get under way.

More information

For more information, such as detour route and hours of closures, visit www.fdotmiamidade.com.


cveiga@MiamiHerald.com

Three separate roadway projects going on at the same time will likely cause traffic jams for Miami Beach residents and commuters.

Alton Road, Collins Avenue and I-395 will all be under construction in 2013.

All are state projects, and they all overlap.

Among the projects is a plan to help relieve flooding along Alton Road. But the situation may get worse before it gets better.

The construction along one of Miami Beach’s busiest corridors may make area traffic a nightmare for the duration of the 2 1/2-year project, and may exacerbate the West Avenue neighborhood’s own flooding problems.

To top it all off, the construction kicks off just as spring tides will be at their highest, making more flooding likely.

“It seems almost insane,” Charles Urstadt, a member of Miami Beach’s Planning Board, said at a recent meeting. “The timing of this is obviously all very important.”

Alton Road improvements, spanning from Fifth Street to Michigan Avenue, are slated to begin April 1. For the project, southbound vehicles will be detoured to West Avenue as the Florida Department of Transportation installs pumps to relieve flooding and otherwise improve Alton Road.

The detour route has locals worried about traffic in their neighborhood. It could complicate deliveries for local restaurants and shops, and could make commuting difficult for employees who work along West Avenue and residents who live there.

“We’re concerned about mitigating the impacts,” said Christine Florez, co-chair of the West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association. “But we want to see relief for the flooding.”

Flooding along West Avenue, where cars will be forced to drive while construction is under way, is sometimes worse than the flooding along Alton, locals said. When tides are high or rain is heavy, water laps up against buildings along West Avenue, and sandbags are a common sight.

Making matters worse: Tides are expected to be at their seasonal highest in April, when the Alton Road project breaks ground. Todd Ehret, a physical oceanographer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, said a full moon and closer lunar orbit will coincide at the end of April and also in May.

“But this is a constant. Four to six times a year, this happens,” Ehret said. “The high tides are going to be a little higher than normal for a couple of days, but we’re only talking a half an inch, an inch or maybe two. But it’s nothing outrageously high.”

The flooding may turn out to be a non-issue, though, because a pump station that will be installed at Alton and Fifth Street may relieve flooding in the West Avenue area, too — although the pump is intended only to address flooding on Alton. The pump at Alton and Fifth is the first of three planned stations up and down Alton. The others will be at 10th Street and 14th Street.

The $35 million project also includes a redesign of Alton Road, which will have four travel lanes, including a shared lane for cars and bicycles. The road will still have on-street parking on each side, although planned traffic-calming measures mean that 90 spots will be lost.

Collins Avenue will get a facelift, too.

That project, which includes street resurfacing, curb and gutter enhancements, and drainage improvements, begins this summer and will last only about a year. Street closures will only occur at non-peak hours, according to an FDOT official who spoke at the Planning Board meeting.

State officials promised to keep special events in mind and to try to minimize traffic impacts at busy times, such as during the Miami International Boat Show and Art Basel.

“This is an unavoidable, two-year nightmare that’s about to happen” said Planning Board member Jonathan Beloff.

Not mentioned at the Planning Board meeting: another project that will force detours and closures along I-395.

Construction on the $4.2 million project starts this week with restriping of the expressway. According to the Florida Department of Transportation, the project includes: replacing an overhead sign structure along westbound I-395 near Biscayne Bay; repaving and restriping the westbound I-395 exit ramp to North Bayshore Drive and the eastbound I-395 entrance ramp to the MacArthur Causeway; improving the riding surface of the roadway; updating signage and pavement markings; and relocating and removing several trees.

The project, which also includes work on State Road 836, is expected to finish up in May 2014.

Follow @Cveiga on Twitter.

Read more Breaking News stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
In this Aug. 29, 2014 photo, Waldo, Fla., resident Mike Barrs fills up his truck with gas in Waldo. The AAA auto club named the tiny town between Jacksonville and Gainesville one of only two “traffic traps” nationwide. The other town is nearby Lawtey. Now Waldo is facing a scandal over its traffic tickets.

    Infamous speed trap town investigated over tickets

    The north Florida town of Waldo has long had a reputation as a speed trap, and it's no wonder. A small segment of highway that runs through Waldo requires drivers to speed up and slow down six times: 65 mph becomes 55 mph; 55 becomes 45; then goes back to 55; then back down to 45; to 55 again and eventually, 35 mph.

  • Tropical Storm Dolly forms off Mexico's coast

    Tropical Storm Dolly headed Tuesday for a soggy collision with Mexico's Gulf coast.

  •  
FILE - In this Saturday, May 17, 2014 file photo, Libyan Gen. Khalifa Hifter addresses a press conference in Benghazi, Libya. Clashes concentrated around Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi's Benina airport between a group of Islamist militias called The Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council and rival fighters loyal to renegade Gen. Khalifa Hifter’s killed more than 30, a Libyan security official said Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. Hifter’s jets pounded Islamists’ positions while militiamen responded with artillery.

    Clashes between Islamists, rivals in Libya kill 31

    Fierce clashes in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi between Islamist militiamen and rival forces loyal to a renegade general have killed 31 fighters on both sides, a security official said Tuesday.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category