Key Biscayne

Bear Cut Bridge

Contractor finds asbestos while repairing bridge to Key Biscayne

 
 
The Bear Cut Bridge, with its westbound lanes closed, shown in January.
The Bear Cut Bridge, with its westbound lanes closed, shown in January.
WALTER MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

pmazzei@MiamiHerald.com

A contractor repairing the bridge that connects Virginia Key to Key Biscayne has found asbestos on a tube containing electrical wiring for street lights — an unforeseen condition that could delay the project’s completion.

Kiewit Infrastructure found the asbestos when it demolished a portion of the Bear Cut Bridge’s roadway in August, according to a memo Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez sent county commissioners Friday. The company has been removing and disposing of the tainted material.

The extra work could push back the repairs by several weeks, according to the memo. Kiewit has claimed a 36-day delay, though the county is still negotiating that number.

“Everything possible is being explored to keep the project on an expedited track,” the memo says.

As part of bonds scheduled for commission approval in December, $750,000 in funding would be set aside to handle the asbestos. The final costs of the fix are still being negotiated.

The $34 million in bonds to pay for the repairs would be backed by Rickenbacker Causeway tolls, which commissioners increased to cover the project costs.

The 69-year-old bridge has been partially shut down since January after an inspection revealed corroded beams beneath the older half of the structure.

Repairs are supposed to be completed by February, in time for the annual Sony Open tennis tournament.

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