Letter from VIHA President

West Bridge closure, CIP’s pumping station upgrade to Venetian Islands, and Undergrounding!

Hello Venetians

During my summer absence our Board Member Ahmad Khamsi has participated in two important meetings with CIP and City Officials to discuss the West Bridge Closure, the pause in our CIP project in order to install effective pumps, and coordinating our Undergrounding project.

Streetscape:

The City Mgr. advised everyone that the West Bridge closure created a major challenge to the CIP project, as well as an inconvenience to residents. The risk of Lanzo’s construction equipment using the East Bridge while it’s the only point of entry and exit was untenable. He also confirmed having met with the Coast Guard in support of the total closure of the East bridge.

The West Bridge reconstruction shutdown has created additional complications for CIP, the City and residents.

First, the bypass to the East bridge contributes additional cost to the contractor’s price.

Second, the city cannot risk running heavy equipment over the East bridge while it’s the only point of entry and exit to the Venetian Way project.

CONCLUSION….

Due to the above, the City is considering rebidding the final CIP stage, fully confident that this will significantly lower the project’s cost. But they are clear that rebidding alone adds 6-9 months to our current December 2015 delivery.

VIHA Recommendations-

We support the City’s objective of reducing the CIP cost by rebidding the remainder of this project. And before we all blame the city for the original delay, remember that these pumping stations WILL provide our islands superior flood management.-they should have been included in the original project but weren’t!

– The City must halt CIP construction until the West Bridge reopens.   Construction starts in November and will take 6-9 months (end of April or July hopefully). Due to this delay, the City has agreed to pave all the islands.

– VIHA’s assessment: The dates are wishful thinking. And starting the bridge construction before December’s Art Basel will be catastrophic for our traffic. And prepare for a December 2015 date. But while VIHA was a prime mover in getting our CIP started, we agree with the city. Due to risk, the only option is to pause CIP. The City’s repaving our very damaged streets is, however, a very welcome move.

Undergrounding:

The City Attorney did a thorough presentation on the process to secure approval and funding of Undergrounding through a Special Tax District.

The Finance Director addressed the detailed costs of creating a Special Tax District.

The City of Miami Beach will support the Undergrounding Project of San Marino and Dilido, and facilitate the cooperation of FPL, ABB, and ATT in design and implementation. They will help us establish in the shortest time possible the Special Tax District required to approve and pay for undergrounding. The City and CIP will work to include our undergrounding in the final CIP design and rebid.

– FPL’s current grid is insufficient and it needs to underground the additional powering needs of the pumps for the City at additional cost ( this was confirmed to us at a recent meeting).

– San Marino and Dilido Undergrounding Project MUST be done before, or co-located with, the CIP construction project. When the street construction is finished, a 5 year moratorium on surface construction will be in place. Our only other option would be the cost-prohibitive directional boring that residents might balk at.

– VIHA’s recommendation-This is the very best chance we’ve ever had for Undergrounding San Marino and Dilido Islands. We’ve been trying to get this done for decades and it’s now within our reach. It will not only provide more robust power, phone, cable and Internet services, but beautify our Islands and homes as well. And it bumps us up on the premium real estate scale. It will raise real estate values.

East Bridge Closure:

The Coast Guard’s final decision on closing the East Bridge during the West Bridge construction period depends on the comments and well-reasoned arguments sent in by residents once this matter is printed on the National Register. We are on the lookout, and will let you know when it appears.