Both the Rickenbacker Causeway and the views from the bridge are sights to behold. | Want to see your own picture in this space? Tag either #thenewtropic or @thenewtropic to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @thenewtropic)
Whether you live in Miami Beach or one of the 305’s barrier-island communities or not, there’s a good chance you’ve spent a lot of time (or sat in traffic) on one of the many causeways that connect the mainland to the beach.
So we decided to take a look at the history of these bridges, how long they’ve been around, and how they got their namesakes.
When it opened: 1947
Its namesake: Eddie Rickenbacker was a star fighter pilot in World War I and later served as the president of Miami-based Eastern Airlines.
About this causeway: It connects Miami to Virginia Key and Key Biscayne, and it’s a mix of a little more than a mile of bridges, and nearly three miles of roadway. Runners and cyclists love it for providing an awesome view of downtown Miami.
It’s also been the focus of a lot of advocacy from cycling and pedestrian safety activists who want protected bike lanes along the road, because of the high number of cyclist deaths on the causeway.
When it opened: 1920
Its namesake: It was initially named the County Causeway and in 1942 was renamed after World War II General Douglas MacArthur.
About this causeway: It was built to provide a second option for connecting Miami Beach and the mainland, because the only other option was the wooden Collins Bridge (more on that in a second). And in the 1990s, the causeway was extended to connect with I-395.
And while many of the causeways in the 305 provide breathtaking views, this one’s probably the best look you can get at downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay in all its glory.
When it opened: 1926
Its namesake: It was originally the Collins Bridge and was named after John Collins, a developer and farmer who built it with a financial boost from Carl Fisher — another wealthy businessman in Miami’s early days.
It got its current name when the new bridge opened in 1925, replacing the older, wooden Collins Bridge.
About this causeway: Like the Rickenbacker, this causeway is another popular one for runners and cyclists and it’s a less hectic alternative to the Tuttle and MacArthur for folks looking to get to South Beach.
Julia Tuttle Causeway
When it opened: 1961
Its namesake: Julia Tuttle has long been considered to be the founder of Miami because of the land she owned and her role in the city’s incorporation in the late 19th century.
About this causeway: While the MacArthur has a slightly closer view of the downtown skyline, this causeway is where you’ll find the iconic “Welcome to Miami Beach” sign that’s been featured everywhere from music videos to TV shows, and plenty of Instagram posts.
Learn more about Miami’s beautiful bridges by checking out the full list by Lance Dixon from The New Tropic archives.