Miami Beach

Repairs will close Venetian Causeway’s east drawbridge for rest of 2016

The Venetian Causeway was closed during Art Basel last year during the complete reconstruction of the west drawbridge, shown here. But during this years repairs to the east drawbridge, work will stop Nov. 30 through Dec. 4 to allow traffic to flow during the festival.
The Venetian Causeway was closed during Art Basel last year during the complete reconstruction of the west drawbridge, shown here. But during this years repairs to the east drawbridge, work will stop Nov. 30 through Dec. 4 to allow traffic to flow during the festival. cjuste@miamiherald.com

The calm, scenic route across Biscayne Bay will once again close when the east drawbridge of the Venetian Causeway is shut down for repairs from Monday through the end of the year.

The east drawbridge that connects Rivo Alto Island and Belle Isle will close at 4 a.m. Monday. Crews will work on the motors, switches, brakes and wiring of the drawbridge. Much to the ire of commuters and residents of the islands, the stubborn bridge is known for occasionally getting stuck. The project is expected to last through Dec. 29, during which time commuters will have to use the Julia Tuttle and MacArthur causeways to cross the bay between Miami and Miami Beach.

Work will stop for five days in early December to ease the expected traffic crunch from Art Basel. From Nov. 30 through Dec. 4, the bridge will be lowered and work will halt to allow traffic to flow.

During the closure, Route A (101) buses will be temporarily detoured. Seven Miami-Dade school bus routes will be affected.

“We have developed alternate routes that should not impact the arrival time of students to school,” school district spokeswoman Daisy Gonzalez-Diego said.

The concrete deck of the fixed bridge that connects Belle Isle to South Beach will also get repaired, though traffic will remain open while the work is being done. Commuters can expect lane closures. This portion of work should be done by May.

Florida Department of Transportation officials are studying the entire Venetian Causeway, a historic roadway that needs serious work. A report on the scope of the necessary upgrades is expected to be done in 2017.

One piece of those repairs was completed in February when the west drawbridge reopened. It had been closed for nine months while the structure was completely rebuilt.

The Venetian Causeway is a popular route for cyclists because there is less traffic and cars drive slower, but cyclists will again have to use more dangerous alternate routes. Before the reconstruction of the Venetian’s west bridge, the county installed vibrating striping and did more thorough street sweeping on the MacArthur Causeway to make cyclists feel more comfortable there. The bumpy stripes alert cars when they’re veering into the bike lane, and cleaner bike lanes have less debris for cyclists to dodge.

Joey Flechas: 305-376-3602, @joeflech

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