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Work Begins on Latest Phase to Make Miami's Rickenbacker Causeway Safer

Wed May 03, 2023 - Southeast Edition #11
WSVN-TV & Miami-Dade DTPW


Phase I enhancements were completed in July 2022. Phase II enhancements are expected to be completed by June 2023.
Phase I enhancements were completed in July 2022. Phase II enhancements are expected to be completed by June 2023.

The Miami-Dade Department of Transportation of Public Works (DTPW) recently announced the start of its latest phase of planned construction along the 3.6-mi. Rickenbacker Causeway to make the road safer for bicyclists.

Work began May 1 to relocate the entrance to Hobie Beach, a small recreational area on the causeway, to improve traffic flow for both cyclists and drivers.

The new entrance will provide a safer and more efficient path for cyclists and pedestrians in the hopes of reducing the risk of accidents and improving access to the popular beach. The changes come after two cyclists were struck and killed on the causeway in May 2022.

The entryway into Hobie Beach will be moved approximately 350 ft. east of its existing location. The relocation will serve to:

  • Improve the conflict between vehicular traffic entering the park and cyclists crossing the entrance point.
  • Provide a larger distance and increase the advanced warning time for vehicles entering the park.

In addition to the new entrance, the speed limit along the causeway was lowered last fall from 45 to 40 mph to decrease the speed differential between cars and bicycles, making the area safer for all users, Miami's WSVN-TV reported in April.

Construction on the new entrance to Hobie Beach, part of the second phase of upgrades on the causeway, is being done in conjunction with the consolidation of driveways east of the William Powell Bridge and west of the Bear Cut Bridge. The plan is to reduce the number of driveways, which will help minimize potential accidents within those limits.

Work on Phase II is expected to be completed by June, according to DTPW.

Causeway Connects Visitors to Key Biscayne

The Rickenbacker Causeway is a multimodal corridor stretching across Biscayne Bay that connects downtown Miami to the barrier islands of Virginia Key and Key Biscayne, where several unique cultural sites and water sports opportunities await visitors. As a result, the bridge/roadway is one of the busiest bicycling and running routes in Miami-Dade County.

From the mainland, the causeway begins at Brickell Avenue before carrying traffic east across the bay to its terminus at the end of the Bear Cut Bridge, where the roadway becomes Crandon Boulevard on Key Biscayne.

It is named after Edward "Capt. Eddie" Rickenbacker, America's top flying ace in World War I, and the founder of Miami-based Eastern Airlines.

The causeway was first opened in 1947.

The Rickenbacker Causeway includes several distinct segments, including its toll plaza, the West Bridge, Hobie Island, the William M. Powell Bridge, Virginia Key and Bear Cut Bridge. It is the only land access to Crandon Park, the Village of Key Biscayne and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

Miami-Dade Began Causeway Project Last Spring

The Miami-Dade DTPW has been developing an overall plan for the causeway that includes coordinating with its partner agencies and stakeholders, identifying short-term projects aimed at funding within the Capital Improvement Program (CIP), and long-term projects for future funding opportunities, according to the agency's website.

The scheme will gather recommendations into a coordinated plan to solidify traffic flow while creating a multimodal safety environment and include coordination with the Village of Key Biscayne, the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department (MDPROS), and other stakeholders.

The study area extends along SW/SE 26th Road and the Rickenbacker Causeway from Interstate 95 to the Key Biscayne Village boundary. That report is scheduled to be ready in early 2024, DTPW said.

Meantime, in the late spring of 2022, Miami-Dade County allocated resources to implement immediate safety enhancements along the Rickenbacker Causeway.

The upgrades were developed partly in response to existing conflicts along the causeway — specifically those found along the existing U-turn at the William Powell Bridge. Crews were able to finish those improvements last July.

Other enhancements within Phase II are the consolidation of driveways east of the William Powell Bridge and west of the Bear Cut Bridge. The plan is to reduce the number of driveways, which will help minimize potential accidents within those limits.




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