$272 million in work could begin in November; add fuel to economy
By Victor Cruz
As part of Miami-Dade County Manager Steve Shiver's program to speed up capital improvements and jumpstart the lagging economy, $272 million in park, sidewalk, sewer, drainage, road and airport projects are in the works.
The fast-track program paves the way for $87 million of design contracts to be awarded as early as Oct. 31. A number of drainage projects could get under way by mid-November, said Roger Hernstadt, coordinator for the office of capital construction coordination.
As part of the overall program to speed construction, in addition to the design work, "all of the county's districts are represented, with the exception of District 5," which is the downtown, Brickell, and Miami Beach areas "and is 99% municipal," Mr. Hernstadt said.
He said he expects to hire more contractors by Nov. 4 and "work could begin within 10 days on some projects, depending on the availability of material."
According to a county manager's report, three design projects have already been advertised - a $24 million contract for master consultant services for Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, drainage projects; $30 million for drainage design for FEMA construction, and $33 million for land surveys.
The master consultant contract, with responses due Oct. 29, is to be split between six firms charged with supervising engineers to work on expedited and other projects, Mr. Hernstadt said.
He said the $30 million drainage-design contract is to be broken into 3,500 packages for five to 10 sites each. Mr. Hernstadt said the county has about 160 certified engineering firms, all of which could get work under the program.
The land-surveying contract is to be divvied up among about 30 qualifying firms.
Another $151 million in construction projects has been approved for advertisement as part of the expediting program.
Bids already have been received for the first of the construction projects. In the first group of the construction category, 15 contracts are being awarded for $5 million each and three for $1 million each for Federal Emergency Management Act-financed road reconstruction and drainage improvements.
Other construction projects ready to be advertised involve several parks and recreation sites, including work on the Amelia Earhart Park Sports complex, improvements to the Kendall soccer complex, restoration of a Greynolds Park campsite and work on a Cutler Ridge Park recreation center. The projects range in cost from $717,000 to $4 million.
Also included among the construction projects are a pedestrian bridge over US 1 to connect the east side of the highway to the Douglas Road Metrorail Station.
The program to expedite county projects was prompted by a state of emergency called Oct. 2 by Mayor Alex Penelas. That action gave the county manager the power to select and award contracts with retroactive commission approval.
According to emergency expediting measures, county commissioners must receive a report on the approved projects a week after contracts are awarded.
The hurried projects were approved Oct. 18 by both an emergency expediting committee and a review group made up of members of the county's business development department. They were responsible for ensuring small businesses get a crack at the contracts, Mr. Hernstadt said.
The county manager's report on projects chosen for the hastened process was made last week to the county commission.
Details: Vendor Information Center, (305) 375-5773, or Department of Procurement Management A & E website at miamidade.gov.