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Flagler Street construction is taking so long that Miami says it may sue the state

West Flagler construction causing financial heartache for business owner

Jorge Fernandez has been a business owner in Little Havana for nearly 50 years but endless construction on West Flagler street is causing him financial troubles.
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Jorge Fernandez has been a business owner in Little Havana for nearly 50 years but endless construction on West Flagler street is causing him financial troubles.

Miami could sue the Florida Department of Transportation and its contractors over the long-delayed makeover of Flagler Street, a project that has missed construction deadlines and left a stretch of the street torn up in Little Havana.

Miami commissioners have asked the city attorney to "take any and all action(s) necessary, in law or equity, regarding the excessive and unreasonable delays of FDOT’s roadway construction projects on West Flagler Street and Southwest First Street," according to a resolution passed Thursday.

"FDOT has been unresponsive," said Commissioner Manolo Reyes, who introduced the resolution. "We have to set a precedent to prevent this from happening again."

Business owners have suffered significant losses during 2 1/2 years of construction, a $45 million project to overhaul three miles of roadway that is supposed to result in an upgraded water and drainage system, sidewalks, lights, traffic signals and a new bike lane. Many say they have seen a 50 percent dip in revenue during the work because of lack of access, park and garage.

In a statement, city officials said residents and businesses in Little Havana are worried because the state transportation department is planning a roadway project on Southwest Eighth Street.

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