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.
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.
The Venetian Way Neighborhood Alliance, a consortium of island organizations that ranges from Biscayne Island on the west to Belle Isle on the east, holds its annual meeting Tuesday.
Topic No. 1 is the fight against Flagstone, the huge project proposed to be built on Watson Island that would include a megayacht marina, a hotels, shops and restaurants.
The Belle Isle Residents Association in February voted to contribute $1,000 to the legal fight against the proposed development.
An organization called the Coalition Against Causeway Chaos, led by Roger Craver, Stephen Herbits and Sharon Kirby Wayne are leading that effort. They have sued the city of Miami, seeking to stop the project.
Flagstone is one of several important issues that will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at 1000 Venetian Way on Biscayne Island. Other topics:
— Plans for the expected development of the former Miami Herald property, now owned by casino developers Genting.
— Plans for the west Venetian bridge repairs and renovation, which is expected to begin around June 1, as well as information on the east bridge lockdown and the impact of the change to SunPass.
— Electing leaders for 2015.
A residents group is meeting tonight to discuss the upcoming streetscape improvements on West Avenue. It starts at 6 p.m. at the 1688 West Avenue.
The meeting, in the condo meeting room at that address, will give neighbors an overview of what’s ahead for the West Avenue project, an 18-month effort to reduce flooding and add wider sidewalks, a bike path, pedestrian crosswalks and shade trees to the area between Fifth and 17th streets.
Some work has already begun on 17th Street and the area of West Avenue just south of 17th Street. And part of West Avenue will close this week (requiring a detour) for work on a new pumping station at 14th Street.
In all, the work is expected to last a year and a half, and it will be done in phases. The first phase is nearest to Sunset Harbour and the Venetian Isles. A second phase is the area between Fifth and Eighth streets.
And then there are two other major work areas, at 10th and 14th streets. The entire project, which won’t be completed until 2017, will also include rebuilding Bay Road south of the Collins Canal.
The reconstruction of West Avenue has scarcely begun, and there is a big-time detour happening next week.Alton_map_022015 (1)
Starting Monday, West Avenue will be closed between 12th and 15th streets in advance of the installation of underground pump station structures and pipes at 14th Street.
The work is part of a larger project to add five new pumping stations in the Alton Road – West Avenue corridor at Fifth, Seventh, 10th, 14th and 17th streets, in addition to raising West Avenue as much as three feel to combat flooding.
For next week’s work, northbound drivers on West Avenue will have to turn east on 12th Street to Alton Road, then head north on Alton before turning left on 15th Street to return to West Avenue.
Southbound drivers will have to turn left on 15th Street, then right on Alton, right on 12th Street and left to continue south on West Avenue.
In addition there will be lane closures on 17th Street east of the Collins Canal, an inconvenience that started last week.