Miami Beach

Repairs to east bridges of Venetian Causeway are done, but roadwork continues next door

Workers have completed repairs to the easternmost bridges of the Venetian Causeway, but motorists will still encounter orange cones and dust at the South Beach end of the causeway as other construction work continues.

Miami-Dade County held a ceremony Friday to mark the completion of $4.7 million in repairs to the drawbridge between Belle Isle and Rivo Alto Island, as well as the fixed bridge that connects Belle Isle to South Beach. The drawbridge, which would get stuck while upright and cause traffic jams, needed upgraded wiring, switches and motors. The grating on the drawbridge was also graded to be friendly to bicyclists, and the deck of the fixed bridge was repaired.

Lanes were closed and traffic shifted on the fixed bridge while crews worked, which created a dusty gauntlet of cones while the Beach’s contractors did drainage work along Dade Boulevard immediately past the bridge, including raising the roadway. The stretch of Dade Boulevard between Alton Road and the causeway is being rebuilt with drainage improvements.

The raising of the road is substantially complete, according to the city, but crews are now working on the construction of a bridge over the Collins Canal along West Avenue, which is expected to be finished in August.

“Until the completion of the bridge, there still may be traffic detours, construction barrels and construction-related activities in the area,” said city spokewoman Melissa Berthier. “We are also building a pedestrian bridge at this location and it will take until August to finish.”

The bridge will extend West Avenue from 17th Street to Dade Boulevard..

The Venetian Causeway, a historic 90-year-old route connecting Miami to Miami Beach that is rich with picturesque views and popular among cyclists and runners, is itself is still a work in progress. And it will be for quite some time.

The county began repairs in 2015, when a stretch of west drawbridge was completely demolished and rebuilt after the bridge deck grew weak and a hole opened up. That $12 million project was finished in February 2016.

The whole causeway is in need of repairs. State and county transportation officials are expected to complete a study to assess the extent of the work needed in May 2019. County officials estimate the rehabilitation of the entire causeway will cost about $110 million. The county may begin the final design phase for the project before the study is complete.

Joey Flechas: 305-376-3602, @joeflech