Come Monday morning, count on one fewer way to get across Biscayne Bay between Miami and Miami Beach. The westernmost stretch of the historic Venetian Causeway is closing for a nine-month face-lift.
So what’s a commuter to do? Same thing drivers do with other South Florida detours. Find a good detour — and know the work won’t last forever.
What you should know:
1. Plan ahead and leave extra time. No way around it: the severing of a major traffic artery will mean extra time on the road.
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2. Know it’s for a good cause. The 1927-build causeway is ailing and badly needs bolstering. A slab of the bridge deck dropped and opened a hole in the road last year. Metal plates have been placed over the weakest points.
3. Get familiar with the alternatives. For bicyclists, the Tuttle to the north and the MacArthur to the south are bigger and scarier. For drivers, those causeways are faster — and free. The Tuttle connects 41st Street in Miami Beach with 36th Street in Miami. The MacArthur connects Fifth Street in Miami Beach with the Arsht Center area of downtown Miami.
4. The $12.4 million renovation project on the span closest to Miami will take at least nine months to complete. Budget-conscious Miami-Dade County passed up a chance to pay more for a quicker time frame. The mayor of Miami Beach wanted the work done faster.
5. The money is coming from a funding program approved by voters in 2004.