If you drive the Overseas Highway from Key Largo to Key West, you cross 42 bridges along the way. Over the course of the road’s 113 miles, 18.8 are spent on bridges—that means you spend over 15% of the trip on bridges. Many of the bridges have interesting stories, but here are four bridges you might want to pay attention to on your next trip down the Overseas Highway.
Seven Mile Bridge
The most famous of the bridges on the Overseas Highway is Seven Mile Bridge. The longest bridge on the highway, it connects Knight’s Key with Little Duck Key. Seven Mile Bridge is actually the name of two bridges; there is the new Seven Mile Bridge which you drive on today, and the old Seven Mile Bridge, which runs parallel to the new bridge. Old Seven Mile was once the railroad bridge and later
became the vehicle bridge, before being replaced by new Seven Mile Bridge, which was constructed from 1978 to 1982.
Long Key Viaduct
The Long Key Viaduct is the second longest bridge on the Overseas Highway. The original Long Key Viaduct consists of 180 concrete arches over 2.5 miles of ocean. When the bridge was part of the railroad to Key West, it was a favorite of the railroad’s owner and he featured it on many advertisements. Today, along with the old Seven Mile Bridge and Bahia Honda Bridge, it is one of the three bridges on the Overseas Highway that has been named a National Historic Site.
Bahia Honda Bridge
No bridge along the Overseas Highway is more dramatic than the old Bahia Honda Bridge. The channel between the islands here is the deepest of any the bridges cross. When the original railroad bridge was
built, the trains passed at the lower level of the bridge. However, when the bridge was converted to vehicle use, it was impossible to run the road through the narrow trusses. To deal with this, the state built the vehicle bridge over the top of the trusses, making it the most vertigo-inducing of the bridges on the road. Today, the new bridge is no scarier than any other on the Overseas Highway, but from it you can see the original highway bridge and just how harrowing that part of the drive would have been.
Harris Gap Channel Bridge
Located at Mile Marker 17.5, at the north end of Sugarloaf Key, very few people likely pay much attention to the Harris Gap Channel Bridge. But next time you drive the Overseas Highway, look for this one—it is the shortest of the 42 bridges on the Overseas Highway. If you blink, you might even miss it as you drive over it.
Interested in learning more about the Florida Keys? Pick up a copy of 101 Travel Bits: The Florida Keys & Overseas Highway, available here.