July 4, 2018

FDOT rendering
Florida Department of Transportation officials will hold a public session on July 10 at the Founders Park Community Center on the plan to build a pedestrian bridge at mile marker 87. 

FDOT rendering Florida Department of Transportation officials will hold a public session on July 10 at the Founders Park Community Center on the plan to build a pedestrian bridge at mile marker 87. 

ISLAMORADA — An aerial walkway across U.S. 1 could safely deliver patrons to the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market in Islamorada and keep highway traffic moving.

Florida Department of Transportation officials will hold a public session  at the Founders Park Community Center, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. July 10, on the plan to erect a pedestrian bridge at mile marker 87. 

Construction on the $2.5 million project is expected to start in November 2019 and finish a year later.

“I’m very happy it’s moving forward,” Islamorada Mayor Chris Sante said. 

Founders Park serves as the venue for the popular Nautical Flea Market in February. Other festivals and events throughout the year also attract visitors who typically park on the oceanside of U.S. 1.

That requires law-enforcement officers to intermittently halt highway traffic to allow people to cross to the bayfront park. For motorists headed south, the result is gridlock. 

Islamorada officials have been seeking a solution for years. A proposal for a temporary bridge over U.S. 1 evolved into a permanent span.

As proposed, enclosed elevators on each side of the highway would lift visitors to the span. 

“We had our choice of three designs and we opted for the elevators,” Sante said. 

Stairs also are included in the plan. Related work will see the widening and reconstruction of the road shoulders, installing safety barriers and changes to the asphalt bike path.

During construction, according to FDOT, “Temporary lane closures will be during non-peak hours and will have minimum impacts on traffic. Work will be done in phases to reduce the effects  of construction on the community.” 

kwadlow@keysnews.com