DOT in Miami-Dade Procurement Problems

Just a small demonstration of the difference between sloppy public procurement and administration of contracts in one office of the DOT and work well done another one.

Dozens of electronic message signs hang underused or in complete darkness over Interstates 75, 95 and 195 in Miami-Dade County and along U.S. 1 and Card Sound Road in the Keys.

Tattered green garbage bags cover 22 traffic signals on I-95 on-ramps. The ramp meters were installed in late 2004 and early last year, but they won’t be turned on until late next year.

The dark signs and bagged meters are a sore reminder of how technology was supposed to ease congestion on South Florida’s highway network by providing real-time traffic information and regulating traffic flow.

But two brutal hurricane seasons, unforeseen technological glitches and a prominent contractor’s failure to deliver on time contributed to Miami-Dade and Monroe’s problems, according to Florida Department of Transportation officials and records.

”I understand why people are so frustrated,” said Rory Santana, who supervises the technology program for the DOT district serving Miami-Dade and Monroe. “They see the signs and the [ramp meter] signal heads out there, and they assume they should be up and running.”

In Broward, drivers on Florida’s Turnpike, the Sawgrass Expressway, and Interstates 595 and 95 have been receiving markedly more information from overhead message boards that have been deployed since 2002.

That’s largely because the Broward FDOT district procured most of the signs now operating in one large bundle in 2002. The Miami office has been acquiring them contract by contract since 1999.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in financing development programs and projects

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