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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The Venetian Causeway is officially closed for the start of a nine-month-long construction project.

The dilapidated, patched westernmost stretch of the Venetian Causeway that connects the mainland to Biscayne Island closed Monday for the start of a $12.4 million renovation project.

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.”

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After a hole opened up last year on the Venetian Causeway, the county declared the repairs an emergency.

While the Venetian is closed, residents will have to head to Miami Beach and get on the already busy MacArthur or Julia Tuttle causeways.

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 project will wrap up by February 26, 2016.

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