With Violations Resolved, Indian Creek Seawall Can Move Forward

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

With Violations Resolved, Indian Creek Seawall Can Move Forward:

Project has been stopped since January 2018

The City of Miami Beach has received the go-ahead from all Federal, State, and County regulatory agencies to move forward with construction on the Indian Creek seawall after a more than three-year work stoppage. The project to replace the public seawall from 26th to 41st Streets was halted in January 2018 after it was cited for violating environmental policies and regulations including not having the proper permits and building too far out into Indian Creek. Part of the fallout included City Engineer Bruce Mowry losing his job.

In August 2018, the City formally apologized and proposed removing and rebuilding three sections of the seawall – a total of 653 feet – from 37th to 38th Streets, from 30th to 31st Streets, and from 29th to 30th Streets. Regarding the remaining portions of the wall built without approval, the City suggested leaving them in place to “cause the least environmental harm going forward.” The regulatory agencies – the Army Corps of Engineers, South Florida Water Management District, and Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) – have all agreed to the proposal and the project is now back with the City’s Building Department for permitting.

In addition to the three replacement sections, an additional 2,079 linear feet remains to be constructed, mostly north of 32nd Street. There is another small segment between 26th and 27th Streets that still needs to be built. An already constructed 1,992 feet will remain.

Among the requirements for approval, the City completed a mitigation project to compensate for the sea grass impact as a result of the non-compliant seawall. City Engineer Nelson Perez-Jacome said that involved the City’s paying for the removal of four derelict vessels in the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve at Dinner Key. An outside contractor did the work for $32,000, he said.

Perez-Jacome said the City is working with seawall contractor Shoreline Foundation and Ric-Man Construction which is working on the road portion of the project to determine best ways to coordinate construction to minimize disruption to residents and businesses, though he said most of the seawall work will be done from the water on a floating barge. Once restarted, Assistant City Engineer Luis Soto said, “best estimates” on a timeframe for completion are “6 months to a year.”

Perez-Jacome said the Indian Creek project is designed to mitigate three types of flooding experienced in the area: 
  • rainfall flooding which requires pipes and pumps to convey the water;
  • tidal flooding from “chronic sea level rise” also known as King Tides. “The only way you deal with that is elevating whatever you want to preserve… the road or private property because you can’t pump the ocean,” he said. The Indian Creek project includes roadway elevation.
  • and storm surge, which is attenuated through seawalls.

Addressing all three types of flooding there ensures the “Mid-Beach neighborhood is truly protected from flooding,” Perez-Jacome said. “In order to make this project successful, this [seawall] was a key element.”

Photo: DMSI

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