On Friday morning, Monroe County Commissioner Michelle Lincoln, Administrator Roman Gastesi, and Assistant Administrator Kevin Wilson met with Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) officials to discuss the asphalt that is popping up near the joints on the Old 7 Mile Bridge that could cause a tripping hazard.
“The most important thing to know is that the areas around the joints are cosmetic and not structural. FDOT is well aware, and they have completed the field evaluation and are working on the repair plan,” said Gastesi. “There are no plans to close the bridge at this time; just be extra careful while walking, running, skating, or biking across the bridge.”
Cones have been placed on the bridge near the areas to help prevent people from tripping. The Old 7 Mile Bridge is the oldest of 600 bridges in FDOT’s District 6 and a historical icon dating back to Flagler’s Over-sea Railroad that was completed in 1912. It is a unique bridge because the joints are closer together, every 10 feet rather than every 50 to 100 feet on newer bridges. The joints help the bridge move in hurricanes or expand and contract due to heat, and the potential tripping hazards created by the bridge’s movement are cosmetic, not structural.
“The Old 7 Mile Bridge 2.2-mile path connects Pigeon Key to Marathon and is a premier attraction for locals and visitors,” said Lincoln. “The span is perfect for enjoying sunset walks across the span looking for sharks, tarpon, eagle rays, and other diverse marine life and is something we want to keep around for a long, long time.”
The bridge recently underwent a full rehabilitation to keep it open as a pedestrian connection to Pigeon Key and allow the trolley to run again across the span. It was reopened to the public in January 2022.