MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Less than a week after announcing that Metrobus service over the Venetian Causeway was suspended due to structural problems with the support bridges, the county has come up with a semi-solution.
Wednesday morning smaller buses were used to service a modified Route A which travels over the Venetian to Lincoln Road, and the South Beach Local, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.
Even with the modified route, riders won’t be able to take a bus from the mainland to the Venetian Islands because the westernmost bridge has the strictest weight restrictions and the smaller buses still exceed those limits.
The easternmost stop on the route is Meridian Avenue and 17th Street. Route A riders can travel only as far west as Northeast 12th Place and North Venetian Way on San Marco Island. The island to the west of that, Biscayne Island, will remain closed to buses.
Buses will run 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and again from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Buses will no longer pick up passengers on Belle Isle. South Beach Local users will have to go over the bridge to the bus stop at Purdy Avenue and Dade Boulevard since buses no longer pick up passengers on Belle Isle.
Last Friday, the county’s transit department suspended service over the causeway and put strict weight limitations in place.
The problem, according to the county, is deterioration of the top layer of asphalt after years of being battered by the bay waters underneath. Several weeks ago, a portion cracked under the weight of a county bus tire.
Since the Venetian Causeway is designated as a historic structure, repairs can be complicated so the original bridge remains architecturally and structurally protected.
Repairs for the westernmost portion of the causeway are expected to cost $9 million. The county would like to replace all 12 bridge structures that make up the causeway which would cost $110 million, according to The Miami Herald.
In the meantime, the county is only able to apply a temporary fix of steel plates to the problem areas, as major funding for a permanent solution has not yet been designated.
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