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Front Page » Top Stories » Venetian Causeway’s future a huge question

Venetian Causeway’s future a huge question

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Written by on October 13, 2015

Venetian Causeway’s future a huge question

More than a year after a bus fell partially through and made a hole in the Venetian Causeway, the Florida Department of Transportation is still in the midst of a Project Development and Environment study to determine social, economic, natural and physical environmental impacts of repairing or replacing the causeway’s bridges.

An additional complication: the 12-bridge causeway, built in 1926, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so any extensive changes might jeopardize that designation.

“Extensive agency coordination as well as the evaluation of alternatives for addressing the needs of the project and the potential impacts of the alternatives on the environment are ongoing,” said Enrique “Rick” Crooks, of EAC Consulting Inc. “The study will culminate with a recommended alternative that will serve as the basis for a future project. Currently, only the study is funded. The scope of the future project has not yet been determined and no funds have been allocated for design or construction.”

The causeway, which connects Miami and Miami Beach, wends its way through a cluster of residential islands. Meetings were held in May with area residents to determine their preference: do nothing other than routine maintenance, rehabilitate the bridges, or replace all or parts of the bridges, according to Dat Huynh, project manager for the state transportation department’s District Six.

Replacement of the bridges ranked first with 16 votes; rehabilitation of the bridge ranked second with nine votes. There were no votes for the no-build alternatives, said a newsletter circulated by the transportation department.

The causeway is Florida’s oldest, and some of its historic characteristics include the arched form of the superstructure, the railings and the light poles.

According to the National Register of Historic Places, an owner of a historically designated structure may do as he wishes with the structure as long as no federal money is used.

Mr. Huynh said last year that if future work is done on the causeway, federal money might be requested. In that case, the federal government says that an Advisory Council on Historic Preservation would have to comment on the work planned for the Venetian Causeway.

Records indicate that any construction alternatives explored for the causeway’s rehabilitation – the milder alternative to complete reconstruction – are to be done so as to maintain the causeway’s spot in the National Register.

In evaluating alternatives for the Venetian Causeway, the transportation department is trying to pinpoint those that would have minimal impact on marine life, Mr. Huynh said when fixes were first being debated.

9 Responses to Venetian Causeway’s future a huge question

  1. DR. MIA

    October 15, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    We all need safe access to the Venetian Causeway ASAP, so we can all go to lunch at Standard HoteL via no environmental impact bicycle. Solution is a no brainer. No more boats or commercial vehicles! Dr. MIA.

  2. Mockery of People

    October 19, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Doesn’t surprise me, but you should have had everything in place prior to closing the bridge, and if you are still negotiating and thinking of solutions, open the bridge back up until you decide what the hell you’re going to do. This is unacceptable, rude, inconsiderate and extremely F****D UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. B

    October 19, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Translation: 9 months to re-open? Forgedaboudit.

  4. marc cooper

    October 20, 2015 at 7:49 am

    higher tolls, whereby only the rich can enter, perhaps $600 per car, each way.

  5. Prem

    October 20, 2015 at 9:42 am

    “Records indicate” but you provide no records.

  6. oronzous

    October 20, 2015 at 11:56 am

    they should have left it open, at least for bike, pedestrian and motorcycle traffic, while they figure out what to do.

  7. Fran

    October 20, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    I can’t believe this project hasn’t even started. Thought you would be half way done by now. Can’t believe you closed a bridge (that helped eleviate local traffic) without allocating funds to start project.

  8. Peter Facinelli

    December 7, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Before popping off like a bunch of mental hemmoroids, you readers should first digest the facts — the article is NOT referring to the westernmost toll bridge, which has been under repair since it closed in June and is pretty much on schedule to reopen sometime in March of 2016. The article is referring to all of the REMAINING 11 bridges that are now being studied to determine the proper approach for preserving their integrity, since they are all old and worn and in need of repair/rehabilitiation/replacement. That’s an entirely separate issue that is sure to illicit much debate and investigation over the next couple of year’s before ANY actual work commences on other parts of our beloved and picturesque causeway.

  9. Lillian Rauvola

    January 9, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    I have been reading all of the comments re: The Venitian Causeway. All I am reading is complaints of inconvenience. We use the Causeway every single day and I am extremely grateful that it is being replaced and not just repaired. I want to be safe and if that means a little inconvenience for safety then so be it.

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