Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine agreed Wednesday to join Venetian Islands residents in asking the U.S. Coast Guard for a permanent lock-down of a drawbridge in the name of safety.
Island residents are worried they’ll be stuck without emergency services if the eastern drawbridge of the Venetian Causeway gets stuck in the upright position while the western drawbridge is out of service because of planned construction.
The Venetian Causeway is in need of serious structural repairs. The western portion of the bridge, which connects to mainland Miami, will be closed for about nine months once construction begins. That may happen as soon as November, according to the county.
“Right now, the problem is the bridge on the east side has been getting stuck,” Miami Beach Fire Chief Virgil Fernandez said.
He said Miami Beach is working with the city of Miami on providing fire services by boat in the event the Coast Guard doesn’t agree to a lockdown and the bridge gets stuck. The city is also considering stationing emergency equipment on the islands, he said.
Levine said he and City Manager Jimmy Morales would draft and send the letter, “and I will follow up with the Coast Guard commandant.”
Morales said it is important to get Miami-Dade County to join in on the request, because the county oversees the causeway. Levine and Morales plan to discuss the issue with Mayor Carlos Gimenez, they said.