Another Brickell road construction delay, more coming
By Rachel Tannenbaum
A finish to roadway construction on Brickell Avenue has been postponed again, first from the end of February to early April and now to the end of June. Total work time is now estimated to be nearly a year and a half — with work elsewhere on Brickell to come after it's done.
By the end of May, the contractor expects to have the current project substantially completed and in June will be finishing work and completing inspections, according to a Florida Department of Transportation District Six representative.
Construction on Brickell Avenue began in January 2011 to improve traffic flow with left turn lanes on Southeast 15th Road, to alleviate flooding with a new pump station between Southeast 12th and 13th streets, and to upgrade signage and pavement markings, among other enhancements.
The department said that the underground drainage work along Southeast 12th Street has been completed and the road was reopened to traffic Feb. 25. The contractor is now cleaning the culvert system in the center of the roadway to improve drainage in the area. The department said that 70% of this is done.
Starting within the next few weeks, the department said, a work zone will be established along the outside lanes on southbound Brickell Avenue between the 1100 block of Brickell and Southeast 13th Street/Coral Way, and that southbound traffic along Brickell will be shifted onto the two inside travel lanes.
Within the work zone, the contractor will install an underground gravity sewer line as part of an agreement with the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department. This work is scheduled through May.
Two southbound travel lanes will remain open and drivers will be able to turn west on Southeast 13th Street/Coral Way from the outside travel lane. Northbound travel lanes won't be affected, the department says.
Also, the department said, decorative crosswalks have been installed at the Brickell Avenue intersections of the 2400 block, 1800 block, Southeast 15th Road, Southeast 14th Terrace, Southeast 14th Street and part of Southeast 13th Street/Coral Way.
Don't expect clear driving on Brickell when the present work is completed, however. Shortly after this work is done, Brickell's north end is to be torn up.
The Brickell Avenue safety improvement project — designed after a 2008 transportation department study tallied 62 rear-end and sideswipe collisions on the avenue between Southeast Fifth and Eighth streets from 2006 to 2008 — is to begin in the fall. Of these crashes, 20 resulted from left-turn vehicles failing to yield to oncoming traffic, 11 of them as northbound Brickell Avenue vehicles turned left onto Southeast Sixth Street.
As a result, the Brickell Avenue median opening at Southeast Sixth Street, identified in the study as a "high-crash spot," is to be closed permanently to prevent left turns.
Originally scheduled to begin in September with a 140-day preliminary timeframe, the safety improvement project now is to begin in October and take about 200 days. Construction will take place from Southeast Eighth to Southeast Fifth streets along Brickell Avenue.
That work includes:
nRepaving streets to extend the life of the road.
nIncreasing the lengths of the left turn lanes on Brickell Avenue for northbound traffic at Southeast Fifth and Southeast Seventh streets.
nClosing the median opening at Brickell Avenue and Southeast Sixth Street to restrict eastbound turns for southbound traffic and westbound turns for northbound traffic.
nConverting the northbound outside lane at the Southeast Eighth Street intersection from an exclusive right-turn lane to a shared through traffic and right turn lane.
nInstalling new signage and a traffic signal and optimizing traffic signal timing.
nInstalling decorative crosswalks.
Judy Solaun, design manager for the Florida Department of Transportation District Six, said plans for the work to begin in October are complete and have approval in Tallahassee. Bidding for a contractor took place in March and was awarded to H & J Asphalt Inc.
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