Actualidad

Futuro de los puentes de Key Biscayne

El cobro de peajes se instaló para permitir mejoras en accesos y puentes a Key Biscayne. Se cumple?

Por Natalia Onetti

(English version below)
Mientras la ciudad de Key Biscayne se pregunta como transcurrirá este año la remodelación del puente Bear Cut que cruza desde Virginia Key -esta semana el asunto estuvo en discusión en el Village Council y se abrieron dos carilles en el ingreso hacia la isla para permitar un mejor tráfico- aparecieron dias atras quejas de vecinos sobre el estado y mantenimiento del puente Rickenbacker.
Un grupo de vecinos de Key Biscayne y Miami están alertando sobre el estado de los dos puentes y la necesidad de que las obras en marcha sean para contar con puentes nuevos. Para ello el grupo saverickenbacker.com esta convocando a la comunidad a que se involucre en este asunto a fin de evitar problemas futuros que pueden afectar a todos los vecinos.

Asistentes a este nuevo foro se preguntan a dónde esta siendo destinado el dineo de los peajes que debería servir para el mantenimiento de los puentes y autovías de ingreso a Key Biscayne. Según una ley en la Florida en la seccion 338.165(a), los tolls (peajes) deberían cobrarse para pagar las mejoras y construccion de los autovías. El precio de peaje incluso aumentó recientemente $0.25 para realizar nuevas obras, aunque se supone que las ganancias del toll deberían ser suficientes.


El Condado reparó el puente de Rickenbacker Causeway, hace años atras, pero no habría un adecuado mantenimeinto, al igual que ocurrió con el puente Bear Cut. En este último, una inspección reciente del estado de Florida mostró que la mitad del puente, construido en 1944, está totalmente corroído, y que incluso en la nueva mitad construida en 1985 muchos de los pilares están en mal estado o se están quebrando (ver fotos).

Miembros de SaveRickenbacker.com estuvieron presentes esta semana con pancartas en vías de acceso a Key Biscayne convocando a la comunidad para que participe en este importante asunto y asuma un compromiso. Esta asociación sin fines de lucro está encabezada por Geanne Stearns, un abogado y residente en Key Biscayne con su familia desde hace muchos años.

Al igual que en otras obras que están en estudio o en desarrollo en la isla, se debe prestar especial cuidado y atención al impacto sobre los recursos naturales de Key Biscayne y Virginia Key.

——————————————————————

While the city of Key Biscayne wonders how this year will elapse remodeling Bear Cut Bridge crossing from Virginia Key, which this week opened two East lanes to improve traffic flow into the island, new complains emerged from neighbors regarding the condition and maintenance of the Rickenbacker Bridge. A group of residents of Key Biscayne and Miami are warning about the state of the two bridges and the need to have new bridges instead of repaired them. This saverickenbacker.com group is calling the community to become involved in this matter in order to avoid future problems that might affect all the neighbors.

Attendees to this new forum wonder where the money that is getting from the tolls goes to when it should serves to maintain bridges and highways entering Key Biscayne. According to a law in Florida in Section 338165 (a), the tolls (peajes) should be charged to pay for improvements and construction of highways. The price recently increased $ 0.25 for new works, although it is assumed that the toll revenue should be sufficient.

The County repaired the bridge Rickenbacker Causeway, years ago, but there would not be properly maintain, as happened with Bear Cut Bridge. A recent inspection showed that half of Bear Cut Bridge, built in 1944, was corroded and its pillars are breaking (see photos).

SaveRickenbacker.com members were present this week with signs on the ways entering Key Biscayne calling on the community to participate in this important matter and assume a commitment. This nonprofit association is headed by Geanne Stearns, a lawyer and resident of Key Biscayne with his family for many years.

Like other works that are under consideration or in development in Key Biscayne, we must take special attention to care for the future of the island and the natural resources of Virginia Key and Key Biscayne.

(from saverickenbacker.com)

Overview

The Village Council meeting included an extensive discussion of the County’s current “emergency” plan to “rehabilitate” the Bear Cut Bridge. The discussion was lively and concluded with the Council indicating continued support for a resolution urging the County: (i) to terminate its current “emergency” plan to “rehabilitate” the Bear Cut Bridge; and (ii) instead, to undertake a plan to make immediate short-term repairs on the Bear Cut Bridge substructure using standard repair protocols, to buy time to construct new a new bridge designed to today’s standards, to meet today’s needs, and those of the future.

The Council members present all appeared to have a good grasp of the issues relating to the Bear Cut Bridge, and a clear idea of how to address them. It also seems to be starting to hit home that the Council – and community as a whole – must send a very strong message to the County if we are to succeed in bringing the current “rehabilitation” plan to a halt.

The highlights of the discussion were as follows:

The Use Of Toll Revenues

There was an informative discussion regarding the Florida laws governing how Rickenbacker Causeway toll revenues must be used. There is a Florida Statute — Section 338.165(a) – which allows the County to continue to collect tolls on a toll project once any bond debt is repaid, but the law specifies that “[a]ll tolls so collected shall first be used to pay the annual cost of the operation, maintenance, and improvement of the toll project.”

The Failure of Maintenance

The County repaid the last set of Rickenbacker construction bonds many years ago, and has continued to collect tolls since then, but there has been a complete failure of maintenance, particularly with respect to the Bear Cut Bridge. The “old” half of the bridge, which was constructed in 1944, has steel beams which are severely corroded; and the “new” half of the bridge, which was constructed in 1985, have pilings which are cracking.

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