MIAMI (CBSMiami) – More bad news for drivers who use the Venetian Causeway.
Due to massive structural problems, the county plans to demolish and replace the westernmost section of the bridge.
The problem, according to the county, is deterioration after years of being battered by the bay waters underneath.
“It’s very unfortunate. The bridge is degraded, eroded and as we all know it’s a county bridge and the county has made the decision that the bridge cannot be repaired, that it needs to be replaced,” said Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. “i was informed by Commissioner (Sally) Heyman this morning that they are going to do it in a very expedited manner.”
The demolition won’t take place right away. It will take the county four to six months to do the design work and hire a contractor. Since the Venetian Causeway is designated as a historic structure, any repair can be complicated because the original bridge remains architecturally and structurally protected.
When construction begins, the 101 year old causeway will be closed to traffic and 730 feet of bridge closest to the old Miami Herald building will be taken down and a new structure built. That work will take six to nine months.
During the demolition and construction process, residents of the Venetian Islands will to use either the MacArthur Causeway or Julia Tuttle Causeway to get to the mainland.
Miami Beach and the county will work together to make sure there are plenty of shuttle buses to run island residents back and forth to beach side. There’s also a plan to park a fire truck at a condo on the Venetian Isles so that rescue can get there quickly if called.
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.