County engineers have countered that a temporary fix might not give Miami-Dade enough time to design, bid and build an entirely new bridge, which would require extensive studies and permits. They fear a short-term repair would fail before a new bridge is in place, putting the only road into and out of Key Biscayne at risk.
And putting off the proposed repairs could affect next year’s tennis tournament, according to the county.
“A delay to commence the necessary construction activities can further delay the existing restrictions to the use of the bridges, placing a significant and prolonged impact on its users,” Kathleen Woods-Richardson, director of the public works and waste management department, wrote in a memo to Gimenez.
The mayor has cited the Sony Open as a reason to back his administration’s repair plan. In its expedited bid issued under emergency conditions, the county required prospective contractors to finish construction in time for next spring’s tournament. The proposal from GLF Construction, one of the three firms that made the final stage of the bidding process, was not considered because it said the work could not be completed in that time.
The first-place bidder was Kiewit, with Munilla Construction Management placing second. The contract with Kiewit includes a termination clause if commissioners do not give it their stamp of approval.
The bulk of the funding for the project — $28 million — will come from bonds the county will issue backed by an increase to $1.75, from the current $1.50, in most causeway tolls. The remaining $3 million will come from the Water and Sewer Department to pay for a portion of the project that will require burying an above-ground water main under Biscayne Bay.