MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — On Monday, the busy Venetian Causeway is shutting down for repairs for the next nine months.
“It will not be easy. It will be a big problem,” Domenica Grande lives on the Venetian Islands.
The dilapidated, patched stretch of the Venetian Causeway that connects the mainland to Biscayne Island is shutting down June 1st for construction repairs.
Grande said she’ll now have to drive 400 more miles a month to drop off her daughter at school and then head to work because she’ll have to go toward the beaches to catch another causeway to the mainland.
“Apart from the cost is the time it will take because we have to cross South Beach,” said Grande.
Remember that drive on Miami Beach already has plenty of backups because of construction on Alton Road and West Avenue.
The nine-month project on the Venetian will see the complete reconstruction of the westernmost part of the causeway.
Antonio Cotarelo is the Miami-Dade County Engineer overseeing the project.
“This is a portion for the bridge that is over 80 years old,” said Cotarelo while pointing at a piece of the bridge. “This is absolutely necessary.”
After a hole opened up last year on the Venetian Causeway, the county declared the repairs an emergency.
“It was long overdue. The entire bridge is really in bad shape,” said Jurgen Brendel , a resident on Venetian Island and president of their homeowners association. He’s grateful for the closure.
“It doesn’t really upset me because I know at the end of the day, six or eight months from now or maybe a year we’ll have a working bridge,” said Brendel.
While the Venetian is closed, residents will have to head to Miami Beach and get on the already busy MacArthur or Julia Tuttle causeways.
“You can imagine how long it will take now the bridge will be closed,” said Grande.
The eastern side of the causeway will remain locked down so drivers can get in and out of the islands and the bridge will only be raised for emergency situations.
If everything goes by schedule, the $12.4 million project will wrap up by February 26, 2016.
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