The project has been troubled by unpermitted seawall work that will require the City to tear out three sections and rebuild them and then having to reject the bids for Phase III of the project when they came in significantly over budget.
Phases I and II are substantially complete. They included the construction of a new stormwater system along Indian Creek Drive between 25th Street and 32nd Street. Phase III went out to bid but “the lowest bidder was deemed non-responsive and the next low bids significantly exceeded the City’s available budget,” City Manager Jimmy Morales wrote in a memo to Commissioners. Those bids were rejected and after working with the Engineer of Record and FDOT “to value engineer the project,” a new invitation to bid is expected to go out in May “with a corresponding construction start date of September 2019,” Morales wrote.
“The traffic control plan, currently in place, was intended to adequately service the area during a temporary transition between Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the contract. This transitory state was expected to last approximately six (6) months. However, due to the delay in construction associated with the unresponsive bid submittals, the current traffic control needs to be revised. To that end, the City has developed temporary improvements that will alleviate traffic congestion and increase pedestrian safety along Indian Creek Drive and Collins Avenue," according to Morales' memo.
The improvements include:
- The installation of a temporary pedestrian signal and crosswalk on the west side of the Collins Avenue and 26th Street intersection.
- Modifying the travel lanes along Indian Creek Drive south of 29th Street to create two continuous southbound lanes.
- Overlaying the northbound pavement and removing the existing traffic barrier along Collins Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets to allow left in and left out movements for properties on the east side of the road.
Morales explained the difficulty of getting things done on the project given Indian Creek’s status as a state-owned road and FDOT’s contribution of 80% of the project's funding. “On most things here we don’t have unilateral decision making,” he said. “The item before you today, for example, [to fix the traffic flow] only recently did FDOT sign off on.”
“We wanted to move this project as one phase, not two phases,” Morales said. “It probably would have been done by now. FDOT didn’t sign off on that. We wanted to open the road up earlier. FDOT didn’t sign off on that. I wouldn’t do a project like this again with FDOT having that kind of control over us.”
That said, Morales committed to continue to take ideas and concerns to FDOT which, he noted has its own process, “but we can and will do better on that.”
Anamarie Ferreira de Melo, Mid-Beach Neighborhood Association president, gave an impassioned plea for moving forward to address resident concerns.“Let’s just get this mess resolved… not point fingers,” she said.
Ferreira de Melo pointed out she met with City officials about improving the traffic flow and safety in November. “Mr. Morales said there’s a process. I understand that. But four and a half months to get a response that is suitable and meets our mobility and our safety needs in our community should not be acceptable, no matter who owns the road or manages it.”
While she doesn’t live in the affected area, she said, “I am continuously bombarded with emails and phone calls from our members about what they have to experience on a daily and nightly basis in this area."
After Mayor Dan Gelber said the item should remain on the agenda for the next City Commission meeting at the end of April, she said she appreciated the gesture. “If this is not in everybody’s face it is not going to get resolved,” Ferreira de Melo said. “We have to be creative. We can’t continue to live with this.”
Commissioners approved a contract not to exceed $500,000 to put the temporary traffic flow improvements in place.