Design Guidelines For $600 Million Signature Bridge Released

FDOT has released design guidelines for downtown Miami’s signature bridge project, along with a timeline for the bidding process.

At a meeting last month, officials presented an aesthetics manual that is to be used as guidance by design-build teams interested in bidding in the project. Shapes, textures, colors and lighting were among the details released.

FDOT says that the bridge is intended to be a world-class, iconic structure which will serve as a landmark for Miami. They hope to keep costs below $600 million.

Two designs – Wishbone and Lotus, have been selected, although a third option proposed by a design-build team would be considered. The minimum apex above street level will be 245 feet, meaning that it will be dwarfed by neighboring towers such as Marquis, which tops out at about 700 feet.

The bidding process is scheduled to begin next month, and five design-build teams will be selected by the end of the year. The winning bid is expected to be selected by September 2016, and construction could begin by the end of 2016.

 

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Anonymous

And here we are wondering where Miami could’ve gotten the $300 million needed to buy the CSX east-west rail for a metrorail expansion, or the $200 million needed to build light rail in Miami Beach (phase 1 of Baylink).

But at least we’ll have a shiny bridge!

Anonymous

Pretty sure this is FDOT money, not Miami money.

Anonymous

I think his point is that FDOT could have used that money to actually better Miami’s transportation system and build something that has a practical use, instead of using it to build a useless bridge.

Last time I checked Miami is a city in Florida, and the FDOT’s mission to “deliver a transportation system that is fatality and congestion free” might have been better realized if that $600 million went towards something like a metrorail expansion, a baylink line, or improved bike paths.

marc

You’re correct. The state pays for interstate work.

Anonymous

Department of TRANSPORTATION. Transportation includes mass transit, pedestrian safety, and biking, not just expressways (now MDX, that is truly an expressway-only agency…). $300M for a County-wide Tri-Rail expansion (or at the very least, $150M to buy the tracks and let the County come up with the rest locally) benefits much, more Florida taxpayers than a quarter mile bridge to nowhere that costs twice that amount, no?

Martim

Buddy, CSX is only interested in selling if FDOT buys the spur from the railroad company; hence, being entirely integrated and somewhat responsible for the maintenance and use of the line…while Miami-Dade uses it. So, in reality, the first Anonymous post has a boat load of validity to it…total waste of money from the FDOT, who would be the entity responsible for buying the East-West line.

Anonymous

And who ever said that FDOT can’t help with city projects? The FDOT is in a partnership and has been providing funding for the Wave streetcar development in Ft. Lauderdale. Why can’t they do so in Miami?

Anonymous

Funny how people expect the FDOT to come around and fix MiamiDade’s rapid transit issues. A county wide “half penny gas sales tax” was approved by the tax payers and initiated at least ten years ago to help fund an expansion of metrorail and also fund future rail projects. mismanagement of these funds along with the constant bickering by residents and those in power concerning what kind of tranist system to put in place has done nothing but create stalemates, more delays and indeciviseness. Now here we are at this point since BayLink was proposed back in 1998.

People come on this site and bash FDOT for not dragging the powers that be in MiamiDade together and forcing them to come to some agreement on the type of transit system to build so that they, the FDOT, could throw hundreds of millions of dollars at them.

Stop it, you’re pointing the finger the wrong way.

Anonymous

^The finger has been pointed both ways. Everyone recognizes Miami Dade’s stupidity in handling its transportation matters. I don’t think anyone disagrees there. But someone has to call out FDOT for paving the highways unnecessarily, putting silly toll express lanes on 95, and pioneering useless projects like these.

We got a little metrorail expansion to the airport with the tax. Yes, funds were wasted. But at the same time, a half penny tax is not going to solve the transportation problems the city faces. This $600 million could go a long way somewhere else, and to deny that fact while putting all the blame on the city- who simply does not have enough funds to build more projects (nor should they since its a intercity project), is plain ignorant.

Anonymous

Because Tri-Rail extends into three Counties and is looking to extend in to a fourth one. Multiple-County transportation networks sounds like something the State should be involved in. For Metrorail and Baylink, though, I agree it’s the County that needs to get it’s act together.

Anonymous

#1 The stretch of highway between the bay and I-95 has received the worst possible safety rating. It needs to be repaired/replaced.
#2 currently, the majority of the support is from dirt. Pedestrians can walk under bridges, but cannot walk through dirt mounds efficiently.
#3 This stretch has on/off ramps to the left to the right and in the middle. It is dangerous and inefficient.

All of this is very evident if you walk in that area, or pay attention when you drive.

Anonymous

All of which could have been fixed with a fraction of the funds- while the rest of it could have gone to better projects. That’s the point we’re arguing. We don’t need a “landmark” bridge when we have actual transportation problems in the city

Anonymous

Really? What fraction? 9/10? Educate yourself on the issue. A total overhaul of that stretch is necessary structurally and functionally. To add aesthetically is only incrementally more (as in, a small fraction).
It makes perfect sense to make it beautiful if is being torn down completely.

Anonymous

HUGE waste of money!!!

Anonymous

Bury it. Period.

Dave

The entire point of the redesign was to raise the bridge to allow more light in and make it less oppressive from the ground (or even better put it below grade). These new proposals will be the exact height as the current bridge and look to be just as wide. So…..the point of spending all this money is?

lechozo

$600million for better light bulbs.

MrDreTheOne

I mean.. If we are REALLY going to blow $600 Million in a signature “bridge” at least let’s build something that can truly be called a landmark, a structure that is so sexy, futuristic, and defiant of the laws of physics that automatically becomes a symbol of Miami’s growth into a global city. Otherwise, this is shaping up to be an embellished overpass with two arches.

Anonymous

We have three genuine cultural landmarks in the area. The Performing Arts Center and two new museums. We don’t need to spend $600M on a gimmicky bridge that will overlook all those surface parking lots.

Anonymous

And this is how they spend our taxes???

Anonymous

It looks like the perfect opportunity to built a 200k bridge and make disappear the rest 400k

Ben Grimm

*$200m (You’re talking 1815 money.)

Flymia

What a waste of $600,000,000.00

dave

My understanding is that this project will be a bridge from 95 to the bay. Much of it now is fill with a road on top – thus cutting downtown in half. The bridge over Biscayne blvd is only a small parte of the project.

marc

You are correct, it’s not just for the fancy bridge portion. All of I-395 is being overhauled from I-95 to the MacArthur Causeway.

Marc305

Finally a voice of reason. This area needs to be improved for the growth of Miami. Yes we do need Baylink as well as a Tunnel connecting Brickell and Downtown, and yes, this should be third on the list, but I still think this project is worth it.

B

Hmmm….if you’re going to spend $600M on roads in downtown Miami, wouldn’t a tunnel beneath the Miami River be infinitely better for the area residents?

Anonymous

The wishbone is nice but i think the lotus is much more practical. I agree the money could be better spent elsewhere enhancing and expanding the county’s alternative transportation options. I don’t think the bridge will leave as “profound” an influence on tourists as the city and FDOT think, however.

marc

As planned, I agree.

Kid Charlemagne

The bridge represents a fraction of the overall project, which totals $600M. The primary function of the project is to straighten the roadway and mitigate the damage caused to Overtown from bisecting the community with approximately 1,000 concrete columns. The original plans for this project called for a segmental box overpass, which is bland, cheap, and the type of overpass that currently spans Biscayne. In my personal opinion, burying the roadway would be the preferable outcome; however, as that scenario was never part of FDOT’s plan, pivoting to a buried roadway would set the project back 10 years.

suomynona

Better to set it back 10 years than do it wrong NOW.

Anonymous

What about the tunnel option?

Ben Grimm

FDOT doesn’t know how to do those. That’s why a private company handled the PortTunnel.

Anonymous

I can’t see the pictures or photos in this article. Does anyone else have this issue?

lechozo

Lots of foresight in those renders.
Black people nowhere to be seen. Gentrification at full steam.

600b for a landmark bridge that will be hard to see because developers will enclose it in a canyon of highrises.

Anonymous

Holy shit!!!! Another major roadway gonna be tied up. I hope the genius faction all meet and schedule this at least when the venetian is complete. haha, like that would ever happen.

Anonymous

Why doesn’t the bridge pass up and over the metromover then onto the bay?

Yet Another Anonymous

I thought about this two. This would lower the prominence of metromover where it now gets a lot of publicity, but it would make for a much more signature bridge having it higher for a longer distance over the bay.

john

This is so typical of Miami. Would only happen here. This is not the best use for that money. How about the disaster on Brickell? How about putting an overpass from I95 to Brickell at 8th street. How about tunneling under our current Brickell Ave Bridge. We have major congestion in these areas and there is tons of development happening, what will it be like when completed. How about a double decker on US1. There are so many better ideas. We need to be constantly improving our roads or we will soon be like LA.

Anonymous

It’s not about one plan or the other. The need to redo the bridges that cause much of the blight in Overtown does not mean that the congestion in Brickell will be overlooked. In fact, there is a current study on the possibility of a tunnel under the Miami River, but these are separate projects and hence, separate agencies that deal with funding them.

Anonymous

Stupefying waste of money. Those open spaces underneath the bridge will be no more appealing than what’s there now. Look how high the I-95 bridge over the Miami River is! It is much higher than this and yet do you see any appealing use of that space? No one wants to hang out underneath a highway. The naivete and stupidity of transportation bureaucrats and some downtown boosters has reached new highs.

Marc305

Although I am a big proponent of Baylink and the Metrorail expansion. I don’t believe this bridge is a waste of money. The current bridge separates Downtown from the Omni district and the area around it is poised for development. This will be a nice addition to the Miami World Center Mall, not to mention all the future high rises around the Performing Arts Center.

Anonymous

Not a waste of money, just not the right time for such a project.

Its a slap in the face to Miamians who put up with growing congestion on highways and city roads, and yet are told there are no solutions due to a lack of funds…

suomynona

How is this bridge going to “unseparate” those two districts? It looks like literally the same thing as what is already there: A massive, raised highway dividing two key parts of the downtown area. It is still going to have plenty of pillars holding this massive, raised highway, which will continue to divide and separate the city.

Those renderings from below the overpass are insulting. When have plants ever grown well in the perpetual shadows that exist under overpasses? I get that it’s just an “artistic rendering”, but it’s specifically designed that way to support the idea of “connectivity” this project will bring, and it’s a total fallacy.

It’s going to be a newer, $600M version of what we already have that will be called a “bridge” instead of an “overpass”. Sadly, this won’t just fail to spur development, but it will continue to inhibit it.

In my opinion, it is a complete waste of money.

The below links are before/after pics of Boston’s Big Dig. Something like that would help. This thing won’t.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/1/files/2012/07/0711_bigdig.jpg
http://media.treehugger.com/assets/images/2011/10/big-dig-has-unintended-consequences.jpg

Ben Grimm

Well, mister. You’re missing the dark, scary space underneath. We certainly don’t have that now. So it’s, like, a win! 😀

Anonymous

Many are writing as if you have never walked this area.
For all of you that are guessing that a new bridge is the same as what is there, try this…..
Take the beloved Metro mover to the PAMM/Museum Park stop. Turn DUE NORTH and walk towards the $500M PAC.
There is no bridge there now.
It is a mound of dirt.
You would have to cross the E-bound on ramp to 395, then up a grassy hill, cross four lanes of 395E, then four lanes of 395W, down a grassy hill, then cross the off ramp of 395W.
It is a disaster, there should be no question that this stretch needs to be totally revamped.

Anonymous

Or one can just stay on the metro mover and get off at the Adrienne Arsht Center Metromover Station

Anonymous

No. U can use the side walk on Biscayne and u r available to cross legally and safely.

Anonymous

No, the bridge doesn’t separate the two neighborhoods, it’s the surface parking craters and abandoned warehouses that are doing this.

Anonymous

I don’t really think its a waste of money but it’s really not necessary to spend as much money to make sure it’s a signature bridge. From the looks of the render they would have to do a lot more in design to really call it a signature landmark bridge. It wont come close to being the landmark other bridges around the world has become because its more of a land bridge than a bridge over water. I would love to see it built, it will look really nice seeing it especially at night but I really hope they design a 3rd option that blows what we see here out of the water and then we can call it signature.

Anonymous

I could care less what kind of bridge they want to put up, BRING ON GENTING’S RESORT CASINOS!!!!