- Company: Bergeron Land Development, Inc.
- Industry: General Building
- Location: Miami Beach, Florida
- Expected Completion Date: October 15, 2015
- Project Website
A global concern, sea level rise is a significant issue for the City of Miami Beach. In efforts to battle sea level rise, flooding, and diminishing underground utilities, Bergeron Land Development, Inc. (Bergeron) teamed with the City of Miami Beach (Miami Beach) to undertake approximately $34.6 million dollars’ worth of Design-Build Pump Stations projects.
Of particular concern is the yearly King Tide that invades Miami Beach in October. King Tide is not specifically unique to Miami Beach as they can and do occur anywhere on the planet. The King Tide typically last for days and is the result of the proximity of the moon to the earth; generally the moon is closer to the earth in October causing the unusually high tides. With Miami Beach at or below sea level the result is mass and deep flooding. Sea level rise, also, is not unique to Miami Beach, what is unique is that Miami Beach and Bergeron are one of the nation’s first to adapt to this growing, global problem.
In support of the war against the King Tide and sea level rise, the City of Miami Beach and Bergeron designed and installed two pump stations in less than 5 months. Two additional pump stations were constructed before the Spring Tide in April along with seawalls at 10th Street, 14th Street, 17th Street and Alton Court. Full right-of-way to right-of-way reconstruction is underway to upgrade existing storm drainage, sanitary sewer, service lines and transmission lines along West Avenue at 6th, 10th, 14th and 17th Streets (West Avenue Corridor). This West Avenue corridor is home to almost 10,000 residents, over 40 different condominiums, several single family homes and a number of rental buildings.
The project consisted of raising the roads, seawalls, installation of valves that allow water to flow out of the bay and not in, installation of pumps, LED street lights, bike lanes, landscaping, and two new parks. • Raising the roads approximately 2.5 to-3 feet. Minimum crown height was set at 3.7 North American Vertical Datum 1988 (NAVD88), minimum curb inlet elevations set at 2.7 NAVD88 and minimum back of sidewalk set at 3.7 NAVD88. • Raising seawalls to the new City Standard of 5.7 NAVD88 • Installing valves only allowing flow out to the bay, preventing the ocean from using the storm system to flood the streets. • Installing pumps to more effectively drain the roadways. Pump Capacity o 4 Pump Stations which includes eight (8) 60Hp pumps at 7,000 gallons per minute (GPM) constructed for the City of Miami Beach. The capabilities of the combined pump stations, all of which are interconnected along the West Avenue Corridor are 56,000 GPM. In the event all pumps are needed for a 24 hour event, our system will pump 80.64 million gallons per day (MGPD). • Streets dry approximately 15 minutes after the end of a rainfall event rather than days from the previous system.
Other reconstruction included:
- • A new more efficient LED street lighting system which will cut down on energy cost and provide more security by brightening up the neighborhood
- • The addition of bike lanes by widening the roadways
- • The addition of two new parks
- • New landscaping increased tree canopy coverage
What impact does this project have on America?
While others still debate the reality of sea level rise, Bergeron is leading Miami Beach on a global stage. Our pump stations are battling flooding conditions faced today, with the hope of laying a foundation for tomorrow. For Miami Beach residents that have been inundated with flooding as long as they can remember, our pump stations are changing their lives. With elevated roadways and upgraded drainage, everything from a dry walk to the grocery store to an emergency route off the island during a catastrophic storm event becomes possible. According to the National Weather Service, flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other severe weather related event, an average of $4.6 billion a year in the past 20 years (1984-2003). Flooding can occur in any of the 50 states or U.S. territories at anytime of the year. Miami Beach is a blueprint on how coastal cities around America or even the world can battle flooding and rising seas.
“During a flash flood in June 2009, we lost 47 vehicles on our garage,” said Ron Wolff, who lives at the Mirador 1200 condo tower on West Avenue.
The importance to America for the pump stations is significant and multifold; three key points involve current economy, history and avoiding disaster.
1. Sea level rise is a nation and global concern, adapting to the Earth’s climate changes is imperative to avoiding catastrophic disasters.
2. The current and future economy of the area depends on dry streets and a mobile society.
3. Saving American history – the West Ave corridor and in fact the whole of Miami Beach is rich in historic architecture, all of which can and will be destroyed by sea level rise.
Historically this corridor represents some of the nation’s richest architecture. Development in the West Avenue Corridor began in the 1920s when three grand hotels were built on the shores of Biscayne Bay: The Flamingo, The Fleetwood, and the Floridian. Al Capone and vacationing billionaires from the Golden Age made these hotels their winter hideaway. By the 1950, the hotels fell into ruin and tourists abandoned this side of South Beach for the Oceanside.
One particularly important historical style in the West Avenue Area is the Post World War II Modern Style, sometimes referred to as “MIMo”. This style is related to the traditional Art Deco style that abounds in Miami Beach, but tends towards more functional simplicity. Examples include low-rise apartment buildings that are characterized by double loaded corridors, and open air verandas. The “MIMo” style is sometimes difficult to distinguish from the Garden Style of the 1940s-1960s, which placed emphasis on public walkways on the exterior of multi-family units and often surround a common garden area.
The neighborhood has changed over the years. The recent Census shows the neighborhood to be much younger and more year-round than in years past. It is highly walkable since it is a quiet neighborhood and is close to many amenities – Flamingo Park, Lincoln Road, the ocean, the nightlife of Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue, Whole Foods Market, Publix and many restaurants.
Located at 10th Street and West Avenue, The Shoppes at West Avenue, built almost 12 years ago by Gumenick Properties, hosts a locus of business activity that complements the residential community. There is a parking garage disguised by the architecture and on the ground level are shops such as Starbucks, one of the most neighborly on the Beach, Oliver’s Bistro, a local “joint” with a European flair overseen by the welcoming and gracious owner, Hagen Taudt, a dry cleaner, the South Beach Animal Hospital, a spa, Massage by Design and other businesses.
Adding the neighborhood’s attractiveness is its proximity to the neighborhoods of South of Fifth, Sunset Harbor, Belle Isle, the Venetian Islands and North Bay Road. In the South of Fifth community is the highly rated South Pointe Elementary School, an “A” rated school boasting the highly coveted International Baccalaureate® program. One could say the Corridor has come full circle – the forefathers intentions were to create a magical lifestyle in a tropical paradise, and the residents who now make their home along the Bay fulfill and continue that lifestyle.
What interesting obstacles or unusual circumstances did you overcome to complete the project?
Construction in Miami Beach brings you many obstacles, ranging from huge social events to underground unknowns. Every year, Miami Beach hosts large scale events such as Art Basel and the Boat Show bringing mayhem to the roadways. The extra vehicles and pedestrian traffic cause the kind of congestion that makes planning paramount. Weeks of working closely with the City and local law enforcement create the detours and signage necessary to make the projects safe.
During construction another challenge is the settlement. Miami Beach was a man-made mangrove barrier island. Roadways were built on this layer of organic material causing a huge need to stabilize. Through close collaboration with the engineers, Bergeron successfully came up with different methods of stabilization. To more evenly distribute loads and strengthen the soils, a geotextile fabric is placed before the lime rock base. In a situation where the unsuitable layer of material extends beyond all excavation, the fabric was switched to one that can withstand the necessary black base.
The project was a design-build, which required major flexibility when it came to working with existing utilities. There was little to no data on underground utilities, and the data that was there was typically inaccurate. The project required the field personnel, surveyors, and designers to work in complete unity, for every pipe run encountered a new hurdle. Redesigns happened in the field and were solved in hours instead of days.
As an emergency directive contract with the City of Miami Beach, the schedules and milestones were accelerated. The fast-track scheduling required the design to be complete in 2 to-3 months instead of what could have taken a year. Construction of the pump stations happened in 2 to-3 months instead of the typical 6 to 8 months. The projects were built under extreme conditions, working extreme hours. The City of Miami Beach waived all hour restrictions, and crews were working 7 days a week, 12 to-16 hour days. When needed, double crews were added and crews worked around the clock.
To keep up with the aggressive schedule, the project team also had to incorporate a full time permitting team to expedite the process. Permits were needed in months, sometimes days where extremely close correspondence was needed. Project members met often and did whatever it took to get the information needed on time. Approvals ranging from Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM) to the US Army Corpse proved extremely challenging; however the team always got it done.
Community relations were paramount in getting resident support for the extended working hours and extensive reconstruction work. Our team held and attended numerous community outreach meetings to identify public concerns along with providing project updates. Organizations such as the West Avenue Neighborhood Association (WAvNA) and the Mirador Master Association were among two of the biggest groups our team reached out and coordinated with to resolve conflicts as they unfolded.
What dangers and risks did you encounter, and describe any extraordinary methods used to keep workers safe?
The inherent but atypical safety risks of this project, as compared to many projects in Miami Beach, were observed during in-water, barge related work along with deep excavations. Workers were trained and required to use and maintain heightened personal protective equipment, including personal floatation devices and throw rings, as well as retro-reflective clothing, hard-hats, gloves, etc.
As many trades were working in close proximity to one another around the water and throughout the work-zone, extensive planning and coordination were a top priority. This was established via the use of spotters, radio communication, verbal commands and daily toolbox meetings to maintain safe work activities.
Given the fact that the project’s boundaries and outfalls directly connected to Biscayne Bay; workers were trained to be more cognizant of marine species that could pose a hazard to either themselves or equipment. An official manatee watch program was implemented to limit the potential impact that Bergeron’s work could have on this endangered species. Field workers were also outfitted with skin protection to mitigate impacts from encountering water-borne hazards such as jellyfish, and barnacles.
The pump stations installed were among some of the deepest open pit excavations attempted for stormwater on Miami Beach. The excavation work posed numerous challenges as for the most part the soil layers consisted of organics. Old roadways were built by knocking down the mangroves and building overtop. Trench safety, fall risk and shoring all became an everyday safety challenge our team had to compete with. Methods used to minimize risk and keep our team safe included precasting our structures to eliminate time spent in deep excavations, harness systems and extended training hours on the primary scope of work.
How did you leverage new technologies to work faster and reduce waste?
Pump Stations employed the use of a Downstream Defender. Previous outfalls had no treatment requirements. Discharges were going into Biscayne Bay (a Florida Outstanding Water Source) untreated. By use of the vortex, all stormwater is now being pre-treated before discharge.
Deep excavations utilized slide rail systems. During an excavation, it’s important to keep your site and your crew safe, especially when working with poor soil conditions. Slide Rail Systems are a cost effective solution when you need to support trenches or pits at your excavation site. An alternative to traditional sheeting methods, Slide Rail Systems are made up of steel panels, which are similar to the sidewalls of a trench box, and vertical steel posts. The panels slide into the posts, creating a four-sided pit system. Using a “dig and push” method of installation, the panels and posts are pushed gradually into the pit as the site is being excavated. The deeper the site is dug, the deeper the Slide Rail System is pushed. Because the Slide Rail System is installed gradually, it prevents trench wall loss. With its ability to be used in a variety of arrangements, Slide Rail Systems are boasted as the most versatile shoring system in the industry.