Downtown Miami

First Street bridge downtown will be closed for three years

New app will help you avoid traffic caused by the Miami River bridges

A new website, Bridge Forecast, gives commuters real-time estimates of when the bridges along the Miami River will go up. It'll give drivers a heads up so they may be able to detour and avoid added traffic.
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A new website, Bridge Forecast, gives commuters real-time estimates of when the bridges along the Miami River will go up. It'll give drivers a heads up so they may be able to detour and avoid added traffic.

Steel yourself for more traffic disruptions in downtown Miami when work begins next month on a three-year project to rebuild the Southwest First Street drawbridge over the Miami River.

The bridge, which carries eastbound traffic into the city center, will be closed starting May 20 and reopened in June 2022, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

The $67.2 million replacement of the 80-year-old bascule bridge from Southwest Seventh Avenue to Southwest Second Avenue is just one of 55 current FDOT projects — including five downtown — in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, which comprise District 6. There are 113 future projects in the final design phase, among them a nerve-frying 52 in North Miami-Dade (north of Flagler Street), a blood-boiling 26 in South Miami-Dade, a curse-prompting 16 in the Beaches, a rage-inducing 10 on expressways, and, if you think you can escape to the Keys, nine will be underway in Monroe. For more details, go to FDOT’s website, read about many more in the planning phase and weep. Or devise a helicopter-sharing plan with your fellow commuters. Or think about a career switch to road construction.

Work on the First Street drawbridge, which crosses the Miami River just north of Jose Marti Park, will include new approach spans, a new bridge tender house, new seawalls along the river, riverfront walkways under the bridge, sidewalk connections to the bridge deck and Miami Greenway underneath, installation of a 5-foot, 5-inch-wide bike lane, improvements to storm water drainage and street lighting and updates to sidewalks, curb ramps and crosswalks.

Detours will be put in place but start plotting your own alternate routes now.

Drivers who want to cross over the river to downtown will be detoured to northbound Southwest Seventh Avenue to use the West Flagler Street bridge, the companion to the First Street bridge one block north which normally carries westbound traffic. That bridge and West Flagler Street between Seventh Avenue and Second Avenue will be converted into a two-way road during construction. Also, the roadway along North River Drive and South River Drive when approaching Southwest First Street will be closed to through traffic. Access to all properties will be maintained.

Public information meetings will be held next week on April 23 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Miami-Dade Main Library, 101 W. Flagler St., and April 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Miami-Dade Hispanic Branch Library, 1398 SW First St.

For real-time traffic updates dial 511.

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