We’re all bracing for the months of inconvenience that start Monday when the westernmost span on Venetian Way closes for reconstruction.
But we heard some decent news today from the Florida Department of Transportation: They plan to partially open the 17th Street bridge on Monday, so Venetian Isle residents can turn right on to West Avenue as we make our way south to the MacArthur Causeway.
According to FDOT spokeswoman Heather Leslie, “one eastbound and one westbound lane will reopen on 17 Street between Dade Boulevard and West Avenue.
“The contractor will continue underground drainage, water main and sanitary sewer operations within the existing work zone on West Avenue between Lincoln Road and 17 Street. 17 between Alton Court and West Avenue will be closed for all pedestrian traffic.”
The Venetian closure is expected to last about nine months.
It looks like June 1 will officially mark the day the bridge between Biscayne Island and mainland Miami really closes the the rebuild, and our nine to 12 months of detoured traffic begins.
Miami-Dade County is mailing all island residents an informational card this week that spells out the start, the schedule and cost (9 months, $12.4 million), and the fact that the east Venetian drawbridge will be locked down and closed to boats during construction to keep traffic flowing out of the islands.
So, starting in two weeks, the drive to mainland means going north to the Julia Tuttle Causeway or south to the MacArthur. If you ride a bike — well, it’s going to be even tougher.
The Coast Guard has agreed to keep the eastern Venetian Way drawbridge in the down position during the closing and rebuild of the west end of the historic causeway.
The Florida Department of Transportation announced the Coast Guard pledge at a community meeting Wednesday night, which wsa scheduled to get resident into on different options for reparing all the Venetian bridges.
Miami Beach officials and Venetian island residents have been pleading for the Coast Guard to lock down the easternmost span for months, ever since engineers said structural issues on the Venetian span between mainland Miami and Biscayne Island were so severe that the bridge would have to be closed and rebuilt.
Keeping the bridge in the down position means residents — and emergency vehicles — won’t be delayed by bridge closings as they navigate the much longer route from the islands to mainland Miami. Because of the bridge work, all island residents heading to Miami will have to use either the MacArthur or Julia Tuttle causeways.
The rebuild of the westernmost span is supposed to begin on June 1. It’s expected to last nine to 12 months.
The Miami Herald’s Joey Flechas has an account of last night’s meeting.
It’s been five years since Belle Isle residents successfully fought a proposal from the owners of the apartment complex Belle Isle Key to knock the low-rise complex down and replace it with a shiny five-story conplex.
The owners of the property at 31 Venetian Way, the EuroAmerican Group, have hired a new architect and have a new design.
They will be giving Belle Isle residents a look on Tuesday, Belle Isle Residents Association president Scott Diffenderfer says.
The preview will happen at 7 p.m. at Belle Plaza, 20 Island Ave., in the card room.
The existing apartment complex on the site has 120 units. The previous proposal called for 181 apartments in two five-story buildings, including a 315-space parking garage topped by two tennis courts.
The Miami Beach Design Review Board approved the project in July 2010
Rendering of previous plan
, but only if one of the two five-story buildings proposed for the site was scaled back by one floor. The developer appealed to the Miami Beach City Commission, and when that failed, went to court. They were unsuccessful there as well.
We know that the westernmost bridge span on Venetian Way will be torn down and rebuilt starting next month, closing off the most convenient connection between the Venetian islands and Miami for the next year.
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Transportation is working on plans to rehab the other bridges connecting the islands on Venetian Way. The process has been underway for a year, and there is an important public meeting on May 13 at which FDOT will reveal different alternatives for the reconstruction.
Note, that is one of TWO important meetings on how the Venetian Causeway bridge work will impact Venetian island residents.
— The first is Wednesday, May 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Miami Beach Regional Library, 227 22 St. At this meeting, the Miami-Dade County Public Works & Waste Management Department will provide information related to the rehabilitation of the westernmost bridge.
— The second happens a week later, Wednesday May 13, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr. At this meeting, FDOT will discuss potential alternatives such as replacement or rehabilitation to deal with structural and functional issues on the 12 existing bridges (ten fixed spans and two drawbridges).
An important issue underlying these discussions: Should the bridges be repaired or should some of them be replaced. If they are replaced, will the features of the historic design be preserved and to what degree?
The process began in April 2014, and there are many steps before final decisions are made. This is an important opportunity for community input.
With the closing of the west span of the Venetian just a month away, Miami-Dade County has scheduled a community meeting for next week to go over the schedule and plans for the bridge replacemnt.
According to county spokeswoman Gayle Love, the meeting will provide “residents, business owners and other stakeholders” with an overview of the project. There will be a question and answer period as well.
You might want to pick up a gallon or two of drinking water at Publix today. And make some extra ice cubes.
Starting late Tuesday night, the city of Miami Beach will be repairing a water main that serves Belle Isle. The repair work will leave Belle Isle dry from 11 p.m. Tuesday to about 5 a.m. Wednesday.
Once water service returns, we’ll have a precautionary boil water order for about 72 hours, the Public Works Department says.
That means the water will be okay for showering, but you won’t want to be drinking from the tap. You ought to turn off your ice maker. And run your dishwasher in advance.
When tests shows the water is safe to drink, the city will alert us.