West Avenue residents will face a few more months of construction as the city completes drainage improvements and raises the road in anticipation of sea level rise, and work crews are rushing to finish raising a torn-up portion of Sunset Harbour before Art Basel.
Work on West Avenue has fallen behind schedule after delays in getting an easement for an anti-flooding pump at Sixth Street, and dealing with challenges in working with underground utility lines and staging construction around nearby work being done by the state transportation department.
City Engineer Bruce Mowry said Thursday the city is trying to move quickly without completely disrupting the neighborhood. In particular, installing the pump at Sixth and West has proved tricky while keeping the road open for local traffic.
“We know construction is hard on everyone,” he said. “But we’re trying not to make it unbearable.”
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As of this week, local traffic access is permitted on West between 14th and 10th streets. General traffic is detoured to 13th Street or 14th Court to get around the work. The intersection at 10th and West remains completely closed, and only local traffic is still allowed south of Eighth Street. Drivers need to use Alton Road to access the MacArthur Causeway.
Starting Monday, contractors will spend the week paving 10th and 14th streets between West Avenue and Alton Road. When the project is finished, West Avenue will have green bicycle lanes, new sidewalks and landscaping. Mowry said the city is still talking with resident groups about the possibility of having protected bike lanes.
The Beach expects to solicit bids in January for the second phase of work on West Avenue, which will address the northern stretch of the street.
Meanwhile, construction equipment is rumbling along the stretch of Purdy Avenue from 18th to 20th streets in Sunset Harbour as workers raise that portion of the road. Mowry said crews are working fast to finish that stretch before Art Basel attracts visitors to the area’s shops and restaurants in December. After the festivities, work will resume to raise Purdy from 18th Street to Dade Boulevard.