The structural problems on the Venetian Causeway’s westernmost bridge will require part of the bridge to be demolished and replaced, Miami-Dade County’s top engineer told the Venetian Way Neighborhood Alliance Tuesday night.
The work will require residents of the Venetian islands to use either the MacArthur or Julia Tuttle causeways to get to mainland Miami.
The bridge won’t be closed for four to six months, Miami-Dade County Engineer Antonio Cotarelo said, so the county can do design work and go through the process of hiring a contractor.
Demolishing and rebuilding the 730 feet of bridge closest to mainland Miami will take an additional six to nine months, Cotarelo said.
There are 12 bridges that make up the causeway linking Miami near the old Miami Herald building with Miami Beach near Lincoln Road, part of a historic roadway completed in 1927. Parts of it have been renovated, and the county was in the process of evaluating the condition of the bridges.
But on March 15, a Miami-Dade Transit bus crossing the westernmost bridge heading to Miami Beach got stuck. Its tire created a hole.
“A portion of bridge fell and a hole opened up,” Cotarelo said.
The bridge was closed and steel plates were put in place so cars could safely cross it. But special inspections were done and the county imposed new weight limits that required suspending bus service over the bridge.
Now they have determined the bridge can’t be repaired; it must be replaced.
“The end result is about 730 feet nearest to the Miami Herald building will have to be replaced,” Cotarelo said. “We looked at other options...what we are heading to now is an expedited procurement process for rebuilding the 730 feet of the bridge from the bottom up.”
“We will have to close down that bridge completely so there will be no access to the bridge.”
The county will try and coordinate construction schedules with the Florida Department of Transportation, which already is in the midst of the major road rebuilding project on Alton Road — at the eastern end of the Venetian Causeway.
Read more at Belle Isle Blog.