Traffic delays in the Florida Keys over Memorial Day weekend
Is a visit to the Florida Keys on your agenda to bring visitors this holiday weekend? Matias Ocner Miami Herald File
If you’re looking to escape to the Florida Keys this Memorial Day weekend, paradise will come at a cost: possible delays on the Overseas Highway.
Here’s what you need to know:
Highway Enforcement Delays and Heightened Keys Cars drive down the Overseas Highway Seven Mile Bridge near Little Duck Key and Bahia Honda State Park on Monday, October 11, 2021. MATIAS J. OCNER [email protected]
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Law enforcement staffing: In addition to the extra traffic on US 1, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said deputies ‘will be out in force’ through the three-day weekend” to make sure people drive safely.”
“All Sheriff’s Office traffic officers will be assigned to work through the holiday weekend and will work throughout the county to help supplement Highway Patrol, especially on US 1,” the agency said. in a press release.
Traffic flow: Delays on the Overseas Highway are expected as early as Friday as travelers cross the Keys. And expect heavy northbound traffic on Monday when the holidays end.
“Anyone planning to be on the road on weekends should plan extra time accordingly,” the sheriff’s office said.
Drivers should also be prepared for closer scrutiny by Keys deputies and Florida Highway Patrol troopers.
What the police will look for:
▪ Overtaking in prohibited areas
▪ Illegal overtaking in turning lanes
▪ Traveling at dangerous speeds
▪ Drunk driving
What to know about the Overseas Highway A Florida Key deer stands on the side of the Overseas Highway. AP file
Toll Free: Traveling on the Overseas Highway is toll free.
Length: The highway stretches 113 miles through the Keys over the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Kilometer markers: green kilometer signs are found on the side of the road and are used for addresses and directions. The route begins and ends in Key West, where the zero mile 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.
The toll board for Card Sound Road. Monroe County
Alternate Route: Card Sound Road, considered an alternate route to the Keys, has a $1.74 toll, electronically collected via SunPass, at the north end of the bridge, a 65-foot-tall, 2,800-foot span long that crosses Card Sound. The cost of the toll per plate is $2.62. When entering the Keys using Card Sound Road or County Road 905A, drivers take the highway southeast, cross the bridge to a three-way stop sign. If you turn left, you will head into the ultra-exclusive gated community of Ocean Reef. Turn right on 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 reach downtown Key West, expect 50 mph for most of the drive. But you’ll need to slow down when you start to see clusters of businesses and homes, as the Overseas Highway passes through small communities. Most of the highway is patrolled by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol.
Traffic Apps: Two free apps can help you navigate the highway overseas. One is for traffic and the other is a guide for keys.
▪ The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has a namesake app that is essential for people who need to be on the road regularly. The app has a “live calls and traffic information” tab that shows the location and time of accidents or other traffic disruptions, such as when a medical helicopter lands on the highway. You can also sign up for notifications, which will let you know when the lanes will reopen. The Sheriff’s Office also posts real-time accident information to its Facebook and Twitter feeds, which you can access through the app.
▪ A travel app from the Monroe County Tourism Development Board—The Florida Keys and Key West—has just about everything you want to know about exploring the islands. The app includes narrated guided tours – one for each direction of the highway – as well as listings of hotels, restaurants, art galleries, water sports rentals and fishing guides. The information is categorized by location: Key West, the Lower Keys, Marathon, Islamorada and Key West. The app also offers videos of the Keys, map and weather forecast.
Both apps are available through the Apple Store and Google Play.
Florida Keys Water Law Enforcement
On the prowl: Visitors to the Keys should also expect enhanced water law enforcement from the Sheriff’s Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers.
The No. 1 thing these officers will look for is boating while intoxicated, Sheriff Rick Ramsay said.
“A lot of people head out to sea to have a good time, but boaters should make sure they designate someone sober to bring the vessel and its passengers ashore safely,” he said.
This story was originally published on May 26, 2023 at 5:16 a.m.