Miami Beach

Miami Beach awards $47 million in contracts to finish anti-flooding work in South Beach

Construction workers work on raising the height of the street and sidewalks in front of the Miami Beach Publix on 20th Street and Bay Road back in 2015.
Construction workers work on raising the height of the street and sidewalks in front of the Miami Beach Publix on 20th Street and Bay Road back in 2015. Miami Herald file

The next phase of drainage improvements will likely begin later this year in the West Avenue neighborhood of South Beach, the site of two and half years of construction that marked one of the first areas where the city started installing anti-flooding pumps and raising roads in the face of impending sea level rise.

Miami Beach has put into action an aggressive and expensive plan to combat the effects of sea level rise. The city is rolling out its plan of attack and will spend between $400-$500 million over the next five years doing so.

On Wednesday, Miami Beach commissioners approved two contracts totaling about $47 million that will cover the last phase of construction along the street, which was once flood-prone during seasonal high tides. The remaining work will stretch from Eighth Street to Lincoln Road, and Alton to Biscayne Bay — with the exception of some intersections that have already been raised and outfitted with force pumps that push storm water into the bay, such as at 10th and 14th streets.

Miami-based Ric-Man Construction won the contracts in a competitive bidding process.

Assistant City Manager Eric Carpenter, who also heads the public works department, said the design will take about six months before construction can begin. Then crews are expected to work through most of 2019.

“It’s about two years of construction,” he said.

In addition to raising the street and improving drainage infrastructure, the street will be beautified and bicycle lanes will be added. Portions of the street have already been raised since work began in 2014, when the first pumps were installed. West Avenue was among the most flood-prone during seasonal high tides because it is on some of the lowest-lying land on the southwest edge of the barrier island.

Just north of West Avenue, in the gentrifying neighborhood Sunset Harbour, road and drainage work continues.

Joey Flechas: 305-376-3602, @joeflech

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