The Bridges of the Florida Keys
The first Florida Keys Bridge to be built was part of the Henry Morrison Flagler’s project the “Florida East Coast Railway, Key West Extension” started in 1905 and was completed in 1912. The huge project was a series of bridges and railroad tracks that would connect these until then almost inaccessible islands to the main land of Florida; 128 miles of railway starting at Biscayne Bay and ending in Key West.
The first section of the railway, from Homestead to Key Largo was almost in its totality built over insect infected swamps and wet lands, and in 1906 the 120 mph winds of a hurricane destroyed a big part of the work already done, 135 workers lusted their lives and big portion of the work had to be redone and rebuilt. But the work continued. Flagler was not going to give up!
The 80 years old and already blind Henry Flagler arrived to Key West victorious in January of 1912 aboard of his private railroad car”Rambler”The railroad extension was one of the greatest wanders of engineering of all times and it was named the “Eight Wander of the World” by some of the most prominent people.
The railroad and bridges were damage and some sections totally destroyed by the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935, but many sections remain erected until these days and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, over time this sections had become widely known tourist attractions, the sites for photographic scenarios and a few movies.
The Overseas Highway Bridges.
Later in the earlier 1940’s and using some of the sections of railroad bridges left undamaged by the hurricane, the construction of the Overseas Highway begun, some of the old railroad bridges were replaced by new modern bridges, and in many sections the highway run alongside of the old bridge.
But there are more than one bridge connecting these islands, a total of 42 that I know of. These bridges and highway sections are joined together to form what we all know as “Scenic Highway”, “Overseas Highway”, “Florida Keys Highway” and the extension of “US Route 1.
Driving south from Miami and pass Florida City you’ll come upon the first sections of bridges that connect South Florida with Key Largo and once you get to Jawfish Creek you are officially in Florida keys territory. From this point on you’ll be driving southwest over the many other sections of roads, bridges and villages of the Keys.
The 7 Mile Bridge
The 7 Mike Bridge is the most commonly mention as the Florida Keys Bridge by people here; this historic and famous iconic symbol of the Florida Keys is particularly known for the eye-popping views and the impressive sunsets and sunrises that can be appreciated from here.
This is the bridge that connects Knightâ€™s Key in the islands of Marathon with Little Dock Key in the Lower Florida Keys and is also the stage for the renowned Annual 7 Mile Bridge Run, where over 1000 marathon runners-athletes race over the bridge just for the challenge of a good race! The famous Florida Keys Bridge has also been the stage of some Hollywood movies.
The Old 7 Mile Bridge, originally known as Knight’s Key-Pigeon Key-Pacet Channel-Moser Channel Bridge runs alongside the new Overseas Highway Bridge at this location. This section of bridge was constructed by Henry Flagler, (1909-1912) as part of the Key West Railroad extension and now it gives access to Pigeon Key from the side of Knight’s Key in Marathon. Running, bicycling and walking over the bridge to the historic Pigeon Key is a common recreational activity, and the bridge along with the island is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Bahia Honda Bridge
A section of Florida Keys Bridge where you can admire so great scenarios is at the Bahia Honda State Park and Beaches in MM 37 and the Lower Florida Keys, this is an area full of campsites and not over populated, where mother nature rules.
The bridge crosses the Bahia Honda Key Channel in between the Mile Marker 36-38 for a total of 12 miles, and is not too far from the southwest end of the 7 Mile bridge.
If you exit into the Bahia Honda State Park you can walk over a trail that takes you to the top of the remaining section of the old bridge and you will see some stunning scenarios from this location. A real sightseeing dream!
What else is left to talk about the Florida Keys Bridge?…Fishing!
Most of the sections of bridges in the Florida Keys are excellent for fishing, and are popular fishing platforms. It’s been a popular method of fishing that itâ€™s been booming for years; it’s plenty of snapper, tarpon, snook and permit beneath the spans of the bridges. You only need a salt water fishing license to be at peace with the law!
Some bridges provide access for shore fishing while others are better approached by boat but the thing is that anglers had been scoring big on these bridges.
This is a list of some of the Bridges that I know have fishing platforms and good size fish along the Florida Keys Highway.
- Channel 2 Bridge at M M 73 in Islamorada and the Florida Keys Heritage Trail.
- Long Key Viaduct and Overseas Heritage Trail at M M 64.
- Tom’s Harbor Viaduct at M M 60.
- Seven Mile Bridge’s southwest end.
- Little Dock Key Missouri Historic Bridge at M M 39.5.
- Bahia Honda Historic Bridge M M 36.
- Spanish Harbor Key at M M 34. Overseas Heritage Trail.
- South Pine Channel Bridge at M M 30.
- Bow Channel at M M 20.
But to me the best 3 places for fishing in the Florida Keys are the Long Key Channel, Sugarloaf Key and the 7 Mile Bridge! Try your luck and let me Know!