By Christopher J. Russo, Former City Manager
(Thursday, September 5, 2019) – For the last five years, the City has undertaken one of its most complicated and extensive capital improvement projects: Utility Undergrounding. With multiple phases reaching across the entire length of Sunny Isles Beach, the Utility Undergrounding has involved more than 10 outside providers and agencies and laid more than 60 miles of conduit along Collins Avenue.
As we have moved into the next phase of our Utility Undergrounding project with Florida Power and Light, and have completed approximately one-third of the Street Light Enhancement project, it is now time to add the Golden Shores Undergrounding project into the mix. This work is occurring simultaneously to the Undergrounding and the Street Light Enhancement projects on Collins Avenue.
At the July 2019 Commission Meeting, the City Commission authorized the planning and engineering stages of the undergrounding and street light enhancements in the Golden Shores community. The Golden Shores neighborhood consists of 225 homes, a majority of which receive their electricity, cable, and phone utilities from overhead services. Last month, the Golden Shores Undergrounding project began with the initial data gathering, or surveying, of the neighborhood. Crews are currently going to each address, locating property markers and capturing the existing conditions of any obstacles, poles, or lines.
Attention to detail during this initial period of the project is imperative as we accurately map the utility infrastructure of each and every home. Once the entire data gathering, planning and design phase is completed, a process that will take approximately 18 months, the City will go out to bid to select the contractor that will complete the undergrounding process of burying conduit and preparing for the conversion to underground utilities. Te bid process will take about four to six months, and once the contractor is selected and approved by the City Commission, the undergrounding will commence. The project will be worked in four phases; during each phase, the undergrounding for about one-quarter of the neighborhood’s homes will be completed.
Though the project may bring temporary construction and minor inconveniences to the neighborhood, it will also bring fresh, new roadways. As crews complete the undergrounding of each section, all roads will be repaved. We are also working to minimize the impact of the placement of required equipment to preserve the aesthetic of the community.
The Golden Shores undergrounding and street light work is projected to reach completion in 24 months once construction begins. What can residents expect once this work is complete? Repaved roads in the entire Golden Shores neighborhood. Enhanced beautification and landscape in the community. New and improved decorative street lighting; the same as the new lights on interior City streets. An improved sidewalk that will extend the length of Atlantic Boulevard from 185 Street to 191 Street on the east side connecting to Collins Avenue at select street locations, which will aid pedestrian traffic. A reduction of power and utility outages, and a major increase in safety by eliminating downed live distribution electrical wires during and after a storm or hurricane. The installation of new equipment that is more resistant to the impacts of weather, and quicker to repair should power and utility outages occur.
We understand that capital improvement projects can sometimes raise frustrations, but there is a reason we work year-round: to uphold and improve the quality of life for all our residents. This project will provide more resilient utilities, help improve residents’ safety and enhance the aesthetics of our community. For regular updates on the Golden Shores Undergrounding project, sign up for our eSIBi email notifications at sibf.net/notifyme.