Town’s new drainage project becomes learning opportunity

Town's new drainage project becomes learning opportunity

Pictured at the construction site, students (yellow vests) learn about the engineering work.

When the Town of Cutler Bay broke ground on the construction of its latest Drainage Improvement Project, located on SW 212th Street between 85th and 87th avenues within the Saga Bay Drainage Sub-basin, it benefited the students of Cutler Bay High School in more ways than one.

The work area is directly in front of the school and for a number of years students and residents of the area have had to cope with serious flooding after heavy rainfalls. Alfredo Quintero, Cutler Bay’s Public Works director, said that the work will involve some new approaches that are more efficient and ecologically advanced.

“The drainage improvement project will include some of the most cutting edge techniques and enhancements in the stormwater management industry that are used to promote environmental protection,” Quintero said.

“Residents will see a major upgrade to the current flooding issue that occurs along SW 212th Street,” he added. “I believe they will be happy to know that the rain water will be properly channeled and treated to reduce pollution levels before entering the environmentally sensitive Biscayne Bay.”

Construction is taking place during the summer break to avoid any interference with the school’s daily activities. Because the construction site is right in front of Cutler Bay High School, town staff invited students to participate in the planning and construction phases of the project. Several students were recruited to participate and have taken an active role in the project with realtime, hands-on experience.

The high school students have attended weekly construction progress meetings with the project team — including town staff, general contractors and engineers — and have been taught how to read construction plans. The students have even been given tours of the construction site to see how those plans are being implemented.

Mayor Peggy Bell said she is pleased with how it’s all working out.

“The $700,000 in grants received for this project help to make major improvements to the town’s storm water infrastructure without taxing our residents,” Mayor Bell said. “This is another example of why we became a municipality in 2005, for the ability to receive grants and invest in our infrastructure.

“I am so proud of our staff who work diligently to find funding for projects such as this. Bringing students in from Cutler Bay High School to ‘work’ on this major project not only teaches them about construction projects, but also shows our commitment to our local schools, by relieving the flooding in front of our high school.”

The mayor said that students and residents in the Saga Bay and Lakes by the Bay area will see the results of this project every time they experience heavy rains, which in South Florida are frequent events.

“Cutler Bay is renowned for the planning we do by utilizing our various master plans that are a result of public involvement meetings driven by residents,” Bello said. “This is the culmination of identifying high priority areas where flooding occurs, finding the funding for the job and carrying out the construction.”

The funding she referred to comes from a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for $300,000 and one from the Florida Department of Transportation for $400,000. Work is expected to be completed substantially by the second week of August.

For information about the SW 212th Street Drainage Improvement Project contact Alfredo Quintero, Public Works director, or Yenier Vega, Stormwater Utility manager at 305-234-4262, or visit the town’s website at

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