Work on new downtown Miami bridges to begin soon
By Eric Kalis
The replacement of two bridges over the Miami River is set to begin this month, officials say.
Work on the Northwest 12th Avenue Bridge is scheduled to start Monday with the construction of a foundation. Meanwhile, the Northwest Fifth Street bridge replacement project is scheduled to start Sept. 30 with demolition of the bridge, said Hector Rodriguez, project manager.
For the Northwest 12th Avenue Bridge work, crews have begun assembling heavy equipment and materials near the bridge, said Patricia Burgher of the Florida Department of Transportation.
Florida Power & Light and BellSouth personnel are making pre-construction utility repairs, Ms. Burgher said, and department workers are cleaning and widening the street to accommodate the project.
"Everything is moving according to the anticipated timetable," she said.
The 71-year-old existing bridge, about 150 feet long, is to be demolished in December 2007. The existing bridge will remain open while the replacement is being built, Ms. Burgher said.
The new bridge will be 110 feet wide, twice the width of the current bridge, with six traffic lanes and two control towers designed to resemble the Hindu temple at Seybold Canal. The project is estimated to cost $64 million in federal funds, and work is expected to be completed in late 2009.
State transportation officials do not expect to close the bridge to marine traffic in the early stages of construction, Ms. Burgher said. But two sets of three-day closures are planned for when construction intensifies.
"Any project-related closures will be carefully coordinated with industry representatives to minimize impacts to marine traffic," she said.
At least one traffic lane in each direction will be open at all times on the roadway and bridge, Ms. Burgher said.
The project involves a reconstruction of Northwest 11th Street through its intersection at Northwest 12th Avenue, Ms. Burgher said, but detours will be established and marked. Northwest Eighth Street will be closed occasionally during the project, she said.
The demolition phase of the Northwest Fifth Street Bridge replacement is expected to be finished in February with construction of the new bridge expected to begin in May 2008. The project should not affect motorists in any way, Ms. Burgher said, because the bridge is already closed to all traffic.
The 78-year-old structure was struck twice by cargo boats in July 2005, prompting department officials to expedite its replacement. The state has budgeted $43 million to replace the 60-foot bridge, which is opened 50 times a day on average.
The new bridge is to feature a five-lane section with a center median and 8-foot sidewalks on each side.
The project coincides with plans for the Miami River Greenway, a 10-mile pedestrian path to be built along the river with 19 restaurants and seven parks.