MacArthur Ramp Closure: Getting to SoBe Will Be a Catastrophe for the Next Month

Even on the slowest of rainy weekday afternoons, getting to South Beach via the MacArthur Causeway requires the Zen patience of a yogi to survive the thousands of tourists gawking at Biscayne Bay and frantically weaving between lanes. It's about to get much worse.

The flyover that deposits traffic onto northbound Alton Road is set to close for repairs Sunday, much to the surprise of city commissioners and residents.

The ramp closure is part of FDOT's two-year Alton Road improvement project, which has already snarled traffic along South Beach's main north-south artery on the bay side.

The agency says the flyover needs repairs and has pledged to reopen the ramp within 30 days, with escalating fees to the contractor if the work runs over.

Still, news of the closure caught commissioners by surprise. They slammed the traffic agency at a meeting last night, echoing what most residents shouted when they heard the news over the weekend.

"You're going to make the residents miserable," Commissioner Deede Weithorn said, according to the Miami Herald.

FDOT says it notified the city two weeks ago, but commissioners complain they never got the news.

"It's going to be a traffic problem," Mayor Matti Herrera Bower said, CBS4 reports. "Fashion Week is coming up. I think it's going to be a nightmare."

Whomever FDOT notified, residents certainly didn't get much information about the project. Here's the full notice the city sent residents last Friday:

Notice the key questions left unanswered: What kind of detours? How will traffic lights help mobility?

Last night's meeting did little to assuage those concerns. FDOT conceded the repairs will increase commutes to the Beach by "two to four" times. The Herald also has a few details about how a median will be removed to add another lane to traffic.

But the best idea of all might be to pump up your bike tires, get your kayak out of storage, or perhaps hire a rickshaw -- anything to avoid the MacArthur until September.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink