Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and city leaders marked a major milestone in Miami’s long-term climate resilience efforts recently when they broke ground on the first Miami Forever Bond program project to combat sea-level rise and flooding.
The Fairview Flood Mitigation project — with its focus on reducing flooding in a bayfront neighborhood — is a fitting start to the $400 million Miami Forever Bond program that voters approved in November 2017. Miami Forever aims to make Miami the most resilient city in the world through innovative infrastructure investments and is being led by the City’s Office of Capital Improvements.
“This is an exciting day for our community and sets us on a clear path to building a more resilient city,” Mayor Suarez said. “Our goal with the Fairview project — and the many Miami Forever Bond projects that will follow it in the years ahead — is to ensure Miami remains the beautiful, livable city it is today for generations to come. In the process, we will set an example for coastal communities around the world of how to adapt to a changing climate.”
Located in the city’s low-lying Fair Isle neighborhood, which experiences regular flooding, the Fairview Flood Mitigation project will tackle the local impacts of sea-level rise head-on. Phase I of the project consists of the construction of a centralized and interconnected drainage collection system, raising existing roadways in the neighborhood, and constructing new driveway approaches and concrete curbs. Phase II will include construction of a stormwater pump station, drainage wells and design of a force main outfall to replace the existing gravity outfall. The pump station will include a backup generator to power it in the event of an electrical outage.
“I’m thrilled the very first Miami Forever Bond climate resilience project is happening right here in District 2, where our miles of coastline put us squarely on the front lines of climate change,” said City Commission chair Ken Russell. “The Fairview project is critical — not only for the neighborhood it will benefit — but also because it will set the tone for the broader Miami Forever Bond program going forward.”
Nearly $200 million in Miami Forever Bond funds have been dedicated to mitigating the impact of current and future sea-level rise, flood risks and vulnerabilities through innovative infrastructure investments. As the bond program gets under way, the city is strategically investing approximately $10 million of that total in six demonstration projects that will advise future expenditures.
These projects, including Fairview, will help the city’s professional staff to learn the effectiveness of water outfall back-flow valves; understand how to best address bayside and river waterfront storm surge and sea-level rise; explore drainage solutions outside major drainage basins; install a traditional pump station and drainage systems in a low-lying neighborhood, and use an advanced road design to provide enhanced mobility and meet resiliency requirements.
This deliberate investment in sea-level rise and flood prevention allows the city to seek leveraging opportunities, continue to extract relevant information from the ongoing storm-water master plan, and further engage citizen and advocacy groups.