Seven Mile Bridge

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Seven Mile Bridge
Seven mile bridge.jpg
Seven Mile Bridge with the original in the foreground
Carries 2 lanes of US 1
Crosses Moser Channel
Locale Florida Keys, Monroe County, Florida
Maintained by Florida Department of Transportation
ID number 900101
Design precast segmented box girder bridge
Total length 10887.5 meters (6.765 miles)
Width 11.58 meters (38 ft)
Longest span 41.15 meters (135 ft)
Clearance below 19.81 meters (65 ft)
Construction cost $45 million [1]
Opened May 24, 1982
Location in Florida FLMap Seven Mile Bridge.png
Coordinates 24°41′54″N 81°10′36″W / 24.6982°N 81.1767°W / 24.6982; -81.1767Coordinates: 24°41′54″N 81°10′36″W / 24.6982°N 81.1767°W / 24.6982; -81.1767

The Seven Mile Bridge is a famous bridge in the Florida Keys, in Monroe County, Florida, United States. It connects Knight's Key (part of the city of Marathon, Florida) in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys. Among the longest bridges in existence when it was built, it is one of the many bridges on US 1 in the Keys, where the road is called the Overseas Highway.

There are two bridges in this location. The older bridge, originally known as the Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge, was constructed from 1909 to 1912 under the direction of Henry Flagler as part of the Florida East Coast Railway's Key West Extension, also known as the Overseas Railroad.

History[edit]

Old Seven Mile Bridge, with ramp on the left connecting it to Pigeon Key

After the railroad sustained considerable damage due to effects of the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, the line was sold to the United States Federal Government, who subsequently refurbished Seven Mile Bridge for automobile use. Dismantled trackage was recycled, painted white, and used as guardrails. It had a swing span that opened to allow passage of boat traffic, near where the bridge crosses Pigeon Key, a small island where a work camp for Flagler's railroad was located. Hurricane Donna in 1960 caused further damage.

The current road bridge was constructed from 1978 to 1982. The vast majority of the original bridge still exists. As of 2015, the 2.2 mile section to Pigeon Key is open to pedestrians and bicyclists. Until 2008, it was also open to motorized vehicles to give access to Pigeon Key, and also used as a fishing pier.[2] The main issue leading to these restrictions in 2008 was that unsupported sections added in 1935 to widen it for vehicular traffic started to sag.[3] In 2014 FDOT approved a $77 million plan to restore the old bridge.[4] As for the longer section beyond Pigeon Key, the swing span over the Moser Channel of the Intracoastal Waterway has been removed.

Engineering[edit]

The full span of the Seven Mile Bridge as seen from the east shore of Ohio Key. The arc over Moser Channel can be seen to the right and Knight's Key can be seen to the extreme right.

The new bridge is a box-girder structure built from precast, prestressed concrete sections, comprising 440 spans. Near the center, the bridge rises in an arc to provide 65-foot (20 m)-high clearance for boat passage. The remainder of the bridge is considerably closer to the water surface. The new bridge does not cross Pigeon Key.

The total length of the new bridge is actually 35,862 ft (10,931 m) or 6.79 miles (10.93 km), and is shorter than the original. Each April the bridge is closed for approximately 2.5 hours on a Saturday and a "fun run," known as the Seven Mile Bridge Run, of 1,500 runners is held commemorating the Florida Keys bridge rebuilding project. The event began in 1982 to commemorate the completion of a federally funded bridge building program that replaced spans that oil tycoon Henry Flagler constructed in the early 1900s to serve as a foundation for his Overseas Railroad.

The Seven Mile Bridge was engineered by Figg & Muller Engineers. The structure was completed six months ahead of schedule and has earned eight awards, including an Exceptional Award for Cost Savings Innovation from the Federal Highway Administration.[5]

In fiction[edit]

The Bridge has been featured in the films Licence to Kill, True Lies, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and Mission Impossible III.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Seven Mile Bridge to Key West, Florida Construction began in 1979. Finished in…". Google+. [dead link]
  2. ^ Toppino, Nancy (2008-11-18). Florida Keys and Key West. Globe Pequot Press. p. 271. ISBN 9780762748716. Retrieved 2015-01-17. 
  3. ^ Gross, Bonnie. "Florida Keys: The Old Seven Mile Bridge in Marathon". floridarambler.com. Retrieved 2015-01-17. 
  4. ^ Elaine, Glusac (2014-04-03). "In the Keys, New Plans for an Old Bridge". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-01-17. 
  5. ^ "Seven Mile Bridge". Structurae. 

External links[edit]

Gallery[edit]