A month after Miami Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava recommended cancellation of the Rickenbacker Causeway restoration — a project she herself brought forward — there’s a new push to split off the aging Bear Cut Bridge and make that span a priority.
County Commissioner Raquel Regalado filed legislation Dec. 29 that would direct the mayor’s office to develop a plan to advance replacement of the 77-year-old structure with a report due within 60 days. The Bear Cut was the subject of emergency repairs in 2013 and Village leaders have questioned the ability of the bridge to withstand hurricanes, citing engineering reports. However, as recently as this year, County officials insisted the structure was safe, but agreed it needed replacement.
The agenda item may move quickly, if it bypasses the County Commission’s committee process and goes to the full board this month, although it currently is slated for a February committee vote. Notably, it does not call for terminating the current Rickenbacker privatization, as both Regalado and the mayor are asking the commission to do.
Levine Cava telegraphed the notion of splitting the Bear Cut Bridge from the rest of the Causeway overhaul last month. By separating the Bear Cut out, some officials believe there is a speedier path to recently-passed federal infrastructure funds, while the details of larger projects are finessed.
Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey said he’s in favor of Regalado’s proposal. “I agree with her. We need to prioritize Bear Cut.”
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.