Is a visit to the Florida Keys on your agenda to take visitors this holiday weekend?
Miami Herald Archive
If you’re looking to escape to the Florida Keys this Memorial Day weekend, paradise will come at a cost: potential delays on the Overseas Highway.
Here’s what you should know:
Delays and increased law enforcement on Keys road
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Law Enforcement Personnel: In addition to the additional traffic on US 1, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says deputies “will be out in force” over the three-day weekend “to make sure people are driving safely.”
“All Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Officers will be assigned to work through the holiday weekend and will work throughout the county to help supplement highway patrol, particularly on US 1,” the agency said in a statement. release.
traffic flow: Delays on the Overseas Highway are expected as soon as Friday as travelers head through the Keys. And expect heavy traffic to flow north on Monday as the holiday ends.
“Anyone planning to be on the road over the weekend should plan for extra time accordingly,” the sheriff’s office says.
Drivers should also be prepared for additional scrutiny from Keys officers and Florida Highway Patrol troopers.
What the police will be looking for:
▪ Passing in No Passing Zones
▪ Illegal passing in turn lanes
▪ Traveling at unsafe speeds
▪ drink and drive
What you need to know about the Overseas Highway
No tolls: Travel on the Overseas Highway is free.
Length: The highway runs 113 miles through the Keys over the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Mile markers: Green mile marker signs are on the side of the road and are used for directions and directions. The road begins and ends in Key West, where the zero mile marker signs are at Whitehead and Fleming streets.
Bridges: The longest span is the Seven Mile Bridge, which is actually 6.79 miles long. The second longest is the Long Key Bridge, at 2.3 miles.
Alternative route: Card Sound Road, considered an alternate highway to the Keys, has a toll of $1.74, collected electronically via SunPass, at the north end of the bridge, a 65-foot-high, 2,800-foot-long span that crosses Card Sound. The cost of the toll per plate is $2.62. Entering the Keys using Card Sound Road, or County Road 905A, drivers take the freeway southeast, drive across the bridge to a three-way stop sign. If you turn left you will be heading to the ultra exclusive gated community of Ocean Reef. Turn right onto County Road 905 (without the “A”) and you are on your way to Key Largo.
Speed limits: The speed limit on most of Card Sound Road is 55 mph. The speed limit changes on US 1 and you will only be able to hit 55 mph in certain places. Until you get to downtown Key West, expect 50 mph for most of the way. But you’ll have to slow down when you start to see clusters of businesses and homes because the Overseas Highway runs through small communities. Most of the highway is patrolled by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol.
traffic applications: Two free apps can help you navigate the Overseas Highway. One is for traffic and the other is a guide to the Keys.
▪ The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has a self-titled app that is a must-have for people who must hit the road regularly. The app has a “live calls and traffic information” tab that gives the location and time of crashes or other traffic disruptions, such as when a medical helicopter lands on the highway. You can also sign up to receive notifications, which will tell you when the lanes will reopen. The sheriff’s office also posts about real-time accidents on its Facebook and Twitter feeds, which you can access through the app.
▪ A travel app from the Monroe County (Florida Keys and Key West) Tourism Development Council features just about everything you want to know about exploring the islands. The app includes narrated driving tours, one for each direction of the road, along with listings for hotels, restaurants, art galleries, water sports rentals, and fishing guides. The information is categorized by location: Key West, Lower Keys, Marathon, Islamorada, and Key West. The app also has videos of the Keys, a map, and weather forecasts.
Both apps are available through the Apple Store and Google Play.
Compliance in the waters of the Florida Keys
lurking: Visitors to the Keys should also expect increased enforcement on the water from the sheriff’s office and officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The first thing those officers will look for is boating drunk, Sheriff Rick Ramsay said.
“Many people head to shore to have a good time, but boaters should be sure to designate someone sober to get the ship and its passengers safely back to shore,” he said.
This story was originally published May 26, 2023 5:16 a.m.