Miami-Dade County commissioners on Tuesday approved spending $10.1 million on a emergency basis for the design and construction of a replacement bridge for the westernmost bridge span on Venetian Way.
The vote will enable the county to demolish, design and rebuild the the bridge more quickly — and without a competitive bidding process. In a memo to commissioners, Deputy Mayor Alina Hudak said the design phase will take about four months, and the constrcution will take six to nine months.
That means, Venetian Way Neighborhood Alliance Presdient Jack Hartog said in a note to island residents, we’re roughly looking at a construction start in October and completion in some time between April and July 2015.
VWNA will have issues to tackle between now and when the bridge closes for construction, Hartog said.
“We need to work now so that when the bridge is closed we can:
— Ensure emergency and other needed services to the Venetian Islands continue;
— Find viable ways for allowing at least pedestrian and bicyle traffic to get back and forth between the mainland and Biscayne Island;
— Make sure this inconvenience is as short as possible.”
In her memo to commissioners, Hudak said that the structural issues with the bridge was so severe that waiting could mean more reductions in the weight of vehicles permitted to cross the bridge. Now, the weight is limited to 5 tons, restricting bus service to the islands from Miami.
“A delay to commence the necessary construction activities can further impact the existing restrictions to the use of the Bridge Segment, placing a significant and prolonged impact on its users,” Hudak said. “The procurement of the contract is expected to take four (4) months, with actual construction to take six (6) to nine (9) months thereafter, during which time the Bridge Segment would be closed to vehicular traffic. The work, currently estimated at $10,100,000, will consist of the complete demolition of the existing Bridge Segment, and the construction of an entirely new bridge from foundations to bridge deck.
“Once completed, the current five (5) ton weight restriction will be removed and the life expectancy of the entire West Venetian Bascule Bridge will be 60 years.”
Meanwhile, Hartog notes, the Florida Department of Transportation is reviewing how to repair or replace the other 11 bridges that make up the crossing from mainland Miami to Miami Beach.
That study will address ‘viable replacement alternatives, the historic nature of the bridges, public and private stakeholder concerns, environmental impacts and potential costs.” The study will take at least another four to five years, accrdoing to the memo.