After a series of snags and delays, a series of construction and beautification projects on the Venetian Causeway and causeway islands by Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami Beach are nearing the go-ahead stage.
The scope of the work is daunting and will touch every homeowner living on the causeway — and affect every driver crossing it.
Along the causeway itself, it includes repaving the road and replacing all curbs, gutters, sidewalks, adding decorative crosswalks at intersections, landscaping medians and swale areas, improving bike lanes and re-doing all the lighting.
On the individual islands, the rehab is equally extensive — from new sidewalks to lighting and landscaping and drainage. (On Belle Isle, work on Island Avenue was done two years ago as part of the renovation of Belle Isle Park).
Miami Beach is handling the work on San Marino, DiLido and Rivo Alto islands. Plans are 90 percent complete, and the engineering firm developing them for the city — Schwebke, Shiskin & Associates — has made them available on the web so homeowners can study how their individual lot will be affected — even where the trees and light posts would be located. The plans are hundreds of pages, and take a long time to download. Belle Isle Blog pulled the art with this blog post from the site.
The Miami-Dade County piece of this project involves the repaving main causeway throughfare and renovating the right-of-way along the way. opens bids on June 30, with a targeted cost of nearly $7.8 million. According to the county summary, it includes sidewalks, curbs, gutters, landscaped medians, wider bike lanes, drainage improvements, decorative crosswalks, lighting, tree planting and signage from Biscayne to Belle islands.
The landscaping part includes removing the “invasive” trees — Australian Pines, Brazilian Pepper, Banyan and Ficus — and replacing them with 285 species of native trees, considered more compatible with South Florida.
The county opens bids on June 30. It held a bid opening back in January, but rejected the bid and then the whole process got hung up in a bid protest, but that’s been cleared aside. Work is expected to start in the fall, and is expected to last a year.
The drainage work — new gutters one main thoroughfare as well as the flood-prone islands — isn’t part of the major storm-water study Miami Beach commissioned two weeks ago, coincidentally after the causeway overflowed with in the June 4 downpour for the second time in a year. That study — at a cost of $1 million — is just beginning, and steps outlined to reduce flooding on the causeway and the Alton Road-West Avenue corridor will be part of other projects.