KEY LARGO – After delays due to Hurricane Irma, the Card Sound Bridge Tollbooth in North Key Largo was demolished Wednesday evening, with the road reopened at 3:30 a.m. Thursday. The blue awning was destroyed during the storm.
This is the first phase of a project to build a new All Electronic Tolling System. There will continue to be no tolls on Card Sound Road during the construction. The project originally was expected to take 189 days to complete, but the contractor is attempting to expedite the work.
During the project, Florida Power & Light will relocate utilities and work will be done on the roadway. The new electronic tolling gantry and associated structures will be installed. Some lane closures will take place, and those closures will be publicized when the schedule is known.
During the design-build phase, County staff worked with its contractor, Halley Engineering Contractors Inc., to include elements that should limit the speed that vehicles can travel through the new electronic tolls that are near the popular Alabama Jacks restaurant and bar.
These elements include:
1. Keeping the lane width at the minimum 11 feet in lieu of 12 feet.
2. Adding a 7-foot-wide median at the toll site, pavement markings, plastic delineators and striping on the shoulders (called the narrow bridge treatment) to create a narrower roadway effect that results in slower speeds.
3. Installing solar, flashing beacon speed signs that show how fast you are going.
4. Installing raised rumble strips that raise awareness for vehicles.
5. Reducing the speed limit approaching the toll from the current 45 mph to 35 mph – and installing appropriate signage.
For decades, the toll at the Card Sound Bridge has remained at $1 per two-axel vehicle, plus 50 cents for each additional axle. The cost of the new toll will go before the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners for discussion and approval. There will continue to be discount programs, likely in the form of an annual pass and a monthly rebate program.
The new toll will accept SunPassâ or drivers will receive a bill in the mail by TOLL-BY-PLATE.
The design build contract is $1.79 million. Engineering consultants Keith & Schnars will review the design with County staff and oversee construction.
Transcore is installing the electronic SunPassâ tolling system that includes camera readers, wiring and computer hardware. That contract is $834,800, although about $166,000 is for contingencies that may not be needed. The entire project is paid for using the Card Sound Toll Fund.