2 Million Added To Budget For Flagler Streetscape Project
By Deserae del Campo
Miami must pay MCM Corp. almost $2 million more to create the Flagler Marketplace Streetscape because contractors ripping up sidewalks to lay granite tiles found the going too rough – literally.
MCM’s team didn’t find the even surface they expected under the sidewalks, Mary Conway, city director of capital improvements and transportation, told a city commission meeting this month.
To smooth matters over, the city is increasing the contract by about $2 million, raising the total to $11 million.
The streetscape project, initiated by the Downtown Development Authority, is designed to improve the Flagler area with vintage street-lighting posts; resurfaced sidewalks, gutters and curbs with granite tiles; and new trash receptacles and pavement markings along the corridor.
"Contractors faced a problem with the resurfacing of the sidewalks because of concealed conditions found underneath the concrete," said Neal Poteet, program manager for the city’s department of capital improvements. "We would only have known of the conditions if we had broken the sidewalk beforehand."
According to city records, the project has "presented many challenges due to the age, condition and operations of Flagler and the surrounding streets within the downtown business area."
Flagler Marketplace runs from Northwest and Southwest Second avenues to Biscayne Boulevard, with street and sidewalk construction on Northeast First Street from Southeast First Avenue to Biscayne.
"This project is over 15 years in the making," said Commissioner Johnny Winton. "Flagler Street is a very complex street to get underneath."
According to city documents, the hidden and unforeseen work is costing the city an additional $1.7 million. Two police officers must patrol the area during nighttime construction at a cost of $160,000.
Work to repair traffic lights because of Hurricane Wilma’s destruction is adding $100,000 to the final bill.
"The bulk of the money is to assist with the underground paver materials in addition to minor damage to the signal system," Ms. Conway said. "All the work is done at night, which is a reason to have more officers out there."
The city’s Jewelry District may soon get the same type of streetscape improvements. The Downtown Development Authority has hired design firm Kimley-Horn and Associates to do survey work for the project. Designs are due to be completed next fall.