Old Florida Keys bridge reopens to pedestrians, bicyclists

A section of a 110-year-old Florida Keys bridge is reopening to pedestrians and bicyclists following a $44 million restoration venture

Rehabilitation building on the oft-photographed 2.2-mile (3.5-km) span of the Old Seven Mile Bridge started in late 2017.

“What made the venture difficult was that it’s a historic bridge, and we had to restore the bridge to the identical aesthetic material as the unique,” mentioned venture supervisor Tony Sabbag, a Florida Department of Transportation contractor.

Nicknamed “Old Seven,” the bridge was accomplished in 1912 as a part of Henry Flagler’s Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad that related the Keys with one another and mainland Florida. The span is the gateway to historic Pigeon Key, a tiny island beneath it that after housed 400 railroad building employees.

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The retired “Old Seven” turned a well-liked recreation space and appeared in a number of movies together with “True Lies,” a 1994 action-comedy starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Wednesday’s late morning ribbon-cutting ceremony would be the crowning second of a 30-year, $77 million settlement inked in 2013 between Monroe County, the City of Marathon and the Florida Department of Transportation. That settlement funded restoration and upkeep to protect the enduring landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The Old Seven Mile Bridge is vital to the Keys, the historical past of the Keys and a viaduct to get to Pigeon Key,” mentioned Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi.

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Restoration included structural metal and bridge joint system repairs, new decking, pedestrian and bicycle handrails and different enhancements.

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