KEY LARGO -- Drivers beware. Speed limit zones on the island have dropped by as much as 10 mph and law enforcement is taking heed.
Between Mile Markers 93 and 97, drivers on U.S. 1 must reduce their top speed to 40 mph due to ongoing road construction. Previous posted limits were 45 and 50 mph for portions of that area.
Most of the changed speed limit occurs in what is considered the "green belt" on the island. Over the last week, Florida Highway Patrol troopers and Monroe County Sheriff's deputies could be seen parked at both ends of the zones. Serving as more than just a visible deterrent, police have conducted several pullovers since the signs were installed last month.
Brian Rick, a spokesman for Florida Department of Transportation, calls the drop in speed necessary in order to keep construction workers safe.
"This is temporary," he assured the Free Press.
Later this month, the road agency will continue to beef up law enforcement presence as part of its campaign "Slow down, my daddy works here."
Dropping the speed limit to 40 mph was made at the request of the onsite contractor. Construction in this area includes repaving the highway and improving the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. Workers are also installing guard rails and signage. The project is slated to be completed by the end of the year.
As contractors continue to work throughout the island, Rick could not rule out further speed limit decreases in Key Largo.
Officials, for instance, have already reduced the speed limit on County Road 905 in North Key Largo from 55 to 45 mph due to construction. The 10-mile trip to Card Sound Road has been decorated with orange cones as crews prepare to extend the oceanside bicycle path from mile marker 106 to the Ocean Reef Club. Portions of County Road 905 also drop to one-lane during weekday hours.