Category Archives: Venetian Causeway

Westernmost Venetian Causeway bridge to be closed, rebuilt

The structural problems on the Venetian Causeway’s westernmost bridge mean part of the bridge must be demolished and replaced, Miami-Dade County’s top engineer told the Venetian Way Neighborhood Alliance Tuesday night.

The work will require residents of the Venetian islands to use either the MacArthur or Julia Tuttle causeways to get to mainland Miami.

The bridge won’t be closed for four to six months, Miami-Dade County Engineer Antonio Cotarelo told residents gathered at a meeting at 1000 Venetian Way, so the county can do design work and go through the process of hiring a contractor.

Demolishing and rebuilding the 730 feet of bridge closest to mainland Miami will take an additional six to nine months, Cotarelo said.

There are 12 bridges that link Miami near the old Miami Herald building with Miami Beach near Lincoln Road, part of an historic roadway completed in 1927. Parts of it have been renovated, and the county w in the process of evaluating the condition of the bridges.

But on March 15, a Metro-Dade Transit bus crossing the westernmost bridge heading to Miami Beach got stuck.

“A portion of bridge fell and a hole opened up,” Cotarelo said.

The bridge was closed. Engineers conducted special inspections to evaluate the underside of the bridge. In several places, steel plates were put in place so cars could safely cross. And the county imposed new weight limits for vehicles crossing the bridge, and suspended bus service between mainland Miami and San Marco island.

Now they have determined the bridge can’t be repaired, it must be replaced.

“The end result is aboiut 730 feet nearest to the Miami Herald building will have to be replaced,” Cotarelo said. “We looked at other options…..what we are heading to now is an expedited procurement process for rebuilding the 730 feet of the bridge from the bottom up.”

“We will have to close down that bridge completely so there will be no access to the bridge.”

The county will try and coordinate construction schedules with the Florida Department of Transportation, which already is in the midst of the major road rebuilding project on Alton road — at the eastern end of the Venetian Causeway. But the work will contribute more congestion in the western side of South Beach.

Because of the structural problems, the county has limited the weight of vehicles crossing the westernmost bridge to 5 tons, and imposed an 11 ton limit on the other Venetian bridges. They are notifying regular causeway users — like FPL, Waste Management, landscaping companies and others — so they can use smaller, lighter vehicles.

The Miami Fire Department has made special arrangements to ensure the Venetian isles served by Miami — Biscayne and San Marco — are safe.

Deputy Fire Chief Freddy Fernandez said the city has placed a fire truck on Biscayne Island at a secure condominium that can quickly be put into service on those islands without having the cross the drawbridge. And Miami Fire has an emergency agreement with Miami Beach Fire.

Representatives of Miami-Dade Transit, who also attending the VWNA meeting, said they were trying to locate a smaller, lighter bus that could provide service between the islands and mainland Miami until the bridge is demolished.

Albert Hernandez of Miami-Dade Transit said the county has found a 6 ton bus, and staff is working with Public Works engineers to determine if it can be used. Cotarela said he thought a decision on using the smaller bus could be made within a week.

A Belle Isle resident complained that the county had ceased running the South Beach Local bus route on Belle Isle, even though the bridge on the east end of the causeway can accommodate more weight. Transit representatives said they had a solution to that service disruption.

The news about the bridge demolition overshadowed a discussion about the planned conversion of the Venetian toll system to SunPass, which is supposed to take place this summer. The bridge work may begin before SunPass is in place.

 

Venetian Way Neighborhood Alliance meets Tuesday to talk SunPass, buses, landscaping, bridge repair

The Venetian Way Neighborhood Alliance — an organization that includes all the Miami and Miami Beach groups on along our historic roadway — holds its annual meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

We’ll learn about the upcoming toll plaza conversion to SunPass from Mike Bauman, who oversees the causeway. We’ll hear about the structural issues on Venetian Way bridges and plans to repair and restore them from the Miami-Dade Public Works engineer, Tony Cotarela.

Do you have a question about bus service to Venetian islands? About landscape maintenance along Venetian Way?

Come to the meetingTuesday night. It happens at 1000 Venetian Way in the community room, on Biscayne Island, and no, you can’t take a bus there. At least not right now.

 

Belle Isle residents appeal for Venetian Way bus service connection with Miami

There’s been no direct bus service from Belle Isle and other islands along Venetian Way to downtown Miami since Saturday.

Now, the Belle Isle Residents Association called on the county to find solution to the problem.

Miami-Dade Transit stopped running Route A, which linked the Venetian with the Omni area, on Saturday due to structural problems with the westernmost bridge. Engineers set a weight limit of 5 tons for that bridge, and 11 tons for other causeway bridges; the small Metrobuses used for Route A exceed the 5 ton limit.

As a result, the buses now only cover a limited to a route from the Lincoln Road area that crosses Belle Isle, Rivo Alto, DiLido, San Marino and San Marcos islands, but doesn’t extend to Biscayne Island or over the drawbridge to mainland Miami.

A commuter who wants to travel to the Venetian Isles from mainland Miami has to cross either the Tuttle or MacArthur causeway and then changes buses and backtrack. And if you want to get to Biscayne Island, you need to walk, bike or take a cab.

In its resolution, the residents association said “recent safety concerns for the Venetian Bridges have great hardship for many Belle Isle residents, commuters and those working on Belle Isle as caregivers, building workers and domestic help.”

The organization asked that the county and Miami Beach replace the buses “at the same intervals, during the same times and in the same route as previously scheduled, using whatever vehicles necessary to safely cross the bridges until regular buses can be returned to service.”

Belle Isle boil water advisory ends

Make that pot of coffee.

The city of Miami Beach says the boil water advisory for Belle Isle has ended. Testing shows our tap water is safe for drinking and cooking.

The advisory was put in place Monday evening, after a water main break stopped water service to Belle Isle residents.

Belle Isle boil water advisory still in place, could end today

Venetian Way still must be repaired at site of water main break.

Venetian Way still must be repaired at site of water main break.

There is still a boil water advisory in effect for some 2000 Belle Isle households Thursday morning, resulting from the water main break that happened Monday around noon.

And Venetian Way still has a gaping hole in front of The Standard, where workers excavated to get to the pipes and make the fix.

The boil water advisory will be lifted once water bacteria tests are clear; that typically takes at least 48 hours after water service is restored. Service was restored at about 9:45 p.m. Monday.

Belle Isle Blog will update as soon as we get the word.

 

M-D Transit announces new Venetian shuttle — with no service from mainland or to Biscayne Island

Miami-Dade Transit says it will provide a modified shuttle service on the Venetian Causeway to replace the service it discontinued because of weight restriction on Venetian bridges.

But if you depended on bus service to get to a Venetian Island from mainland Miami, you’ll have to cross a different causeway to Miami Beach first.

And there will be no bus service from east or west to Biscayne Island, the Venetian Isle closest to the mainland.

The modified service starts Wednesday and will run between 7 and 9:30 a.m. and 2 and 6 p.m. It will run every 30 minutes.

The county says it will NOT resume South Beach Local service to Belle Isle, although it did not explain why.

According to a Miami-Dade press release late Tuesday:

“Route A (101) patrons can board at the regular bus stops located along the Venetian Causeway between N. Venetian Way and NE 12th Place in San Marco Island, on the western end of the modified route, and Meridian Avenue and 17th Street on the eastern end of the route.

“Due to a 5-ton weight limit on the West Venetian Bascule Bridge, the small bus will not be able to travel on the West Venetian Bascule Bridge to go to and from the Omni Bus Terminal.

 

Belle Isle water service restored; boil water order affects 2000 households

Late Monday, city of Miami Beach public works crews fixed the water main break in front of the Standard Hotel on Belle Isle and restored service to  households on the island.

Air conditioners kicked on, but the water from the pipes looked a little brown and not so great. The city announced a precautionary boil water advisory for 2000 households on Belle Isle, in both the high-rise condos and apartments and the small bungalow homes on Farrey Lane and Century Lane.

Typically the boil water order lasts 48 hours, but it won’t be lifted until water samples test clean.

Miami Beach says water should be restored to Belle Isle by midnight

City crews work to restore water service (photo by Miami Beach Twitter account).

City crews work to restore water service (photo by Miami Beach Twitter account).

Crews continue to work on the water main break on Belle Isle, and the city just tweeted that they hope to have service restored by midnight.

Then the 48-hour boil water period would begin. That means with some luck, we’ll be able to shower in the morning, but you might want to brush your teeth with bottled water — and use it for coffee, too.

Venetian Causeway bridge woes detour Metrobus service from our islands

Notice on Belle Isle bus stop.

Notice on Belle Isle bus stop.

If you depend on a county bus to travel to and from the Venetian Islands, you are out of luck.

The structural problems with Venetian Causeway bridges — which led to overnight closures for repairs on the west end last week — have led the county to suspend Metrobus service over Venetian Way.

That means Route A — which crosses the Venetian bridges and islands from the Omni area in Miami to 17th Street and the Lincoln Road area — has been temporarily suspended “until further notice,” the city of Miami Beach says.

And the South Beach Local (Route 123) will no longer pick up passengers on Belle Isle, until the bridge issues are addressed. SBLocal users will have to hoof it over the bridge to the stop at Purdy Avenue and Dade Boulevard to pick up the bus.

It’s unclear how long the suspension of service will last. A city news release dated Saturday says service is “temporarily suspended until further notice.”

The county posted information on the service suspension at 11:47 p.m. Saturday, according to the time stamp on the site — hardly adequate notice for residents and island workers to make other plans.

The city and county recommend bus commuters who need to travel between Miami and Miami Beach to use Route S, the Beach Max, Route C or Route M. But there appears to be no way to get to one of the Venetian Islands unless you walk, ride a bike, take a cab or hitch a ride.

On Tuesday, the county abruptly announced it was closing the bridge between mainland Miami and Biscayne Island for repairs due to structural issues. The overnight Wednesday-Thursday closing happened from 8 pm to 6 a.m.

It was triggered by an incident last month when a county bus tire got stuck in a pothole, said Jack Hartog of the Venetian Way Nieghborhood Alliance.

On April 22 at 7 p.m., the VWNA holds its annual meeting at the 1000 Venetian Way community Room., and county public works engineers are supposed to give residents a report on the issues with island bridges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venetian Way neighborhood meeting to focus on Sunpass, bridges issues

vwnaThe Venetian Way Neighborhood Alliance holds its annual meeting on April 22, and the switch to Sunpass for the Venetian tolls and needed repairs to bridges top the agenda.

Mike Bauman, who oversees the causeway for Miami-Dade County, will give an overview of what island residents can expect this summer when toll collection becomes entirely automatic through SunPass, and toll-takers no longer collect cash. Bauman recently gave details about those plans to the blog.

And Miami-Dade Public Works will elaborate on the events that led to the west drawbridge closure and planned repairs to the bridges.

Hartog said that though the county has been planning bridge repairs for some time — they’ve been discussed in previous Venetian Way Neighborhood Alliance meetings as well as Belle Isle Residents Association meetings — an incident last month triggered more urgency.

On March 18, Hartog said, a Metrobus got its tire stuck in a pothole on the westernmost bridge. That led to the patchwork of asphalt and metal that was set in place during the last several weeks, and Wednesday night’s sudden closure for repairs.

By the way, the county heard loud and clear from residents that they deserved more than a day’s notice of the closure plan.

“Thirty hours ahead is just not enough,” Hartog said, noting that some residents don’t open their email immediately. Days would have been more appropriate notice than hours.

The county has “learned their lesson, I hope” on communicating better, he said.

In addition to Bauman, Miami-Dade County engineer Tony Cotarela is expected to speak at the meeting, which happens April 22 at 7 p.m. at 1000 Venetian Way on Biscayne Island.

If you are interested in joining the alliance, here you go. ,Membership form 2014.doc

 

 

There will also be a discussion of security concerns (there have been more burglaries on DiLido in the last week) and beautification efforts on the islands.