U.S. 1 North - Lower Florida Keys

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U.S. 1 north
U.S. 1 begins its long northward journey in Key West, the most southerly city in the United States. This picture was taken at the zero milepost in Key West; the mileposts increase from south to north, through the keys all the way to the mainland. U.S. 1 is known as the Overseas Highway through this stretch, and that is primarily due to the number of bridges its utilizes as it heads toward South Florida. Photo taken 01/13/02.
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A second look at the begin shield of U.S. 1 at the intersection of Whitehead Street south with Fleming Street. Whitehead Street enters the scene from Front Street and the tourist district of Downtown. Fleming Street travels east-west between the Harry S. Truman Annex of Key West Naval Air station and White Street through southern reaches of Downtown Key West. The Monroe County Courthouse resides at the southwest corner of Fleming and Whitehead Streets. Photos taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 (Whitehead Street) southbound at the signalized intersection with Southard Street. Southard Street heads west to the Harry S. Truman Annex and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park and east to the Trumbo Point Annex of Key West Naval Air Station at White Street. Photo taken 05/07/06.
The next reassurance shield of U.S. 1 lies along Whitehead Street south near Petronia Street. U.S. 1 north travels southeast along Whitehead Street to Truman Avenue. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 north turns east toward the commercial district of Key West at Truman Avenue. Truman Avenue carries the US route between Whitehead Street and Eisenhower Drive. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 (Whitehead Street) north turns east onto Truman Avenue. Truman Avenue ends at the Harry S. Truman Annex three blocks to the west at Fort Street. Whitehead Street south continues another four blocks to the Southernmost Point Monument and an eastern curve to South Street. The monument, which resembles an ocean buoy, lies along the waters at the end of Whitehead Street adjacent to the Harry S. Truman Annex. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Shifting to east of Kennedy Drive, U.S. 1 (North Roosevelt Boulevard) hugs the Gulf of Mexico waters east from Sigsbee Road through the commercial district of Key West. North Roosevelt Boulevard provides a five-lane capacity east to Florida A1A (South Roosevelt Boulevard). Photo taken 05/07/06.
Northbound reassurance marker posted along North Roosevelt Boulevard east near 17th Street. Photo taken 05/07/06.
North Roosevelt Boulevard curves south to meet Florida A1A (South Roosevelt Boulevard) and the Overseas Highway. Florida A1A continues Roosevelt Boulevard south along Cow Key Channel to Key West International Airport (EYW) and Bertha Street. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 turns east onto the Overseas Highway toward Stock Island as North Roosevelt Boulevard transitions into Florida A1A south. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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Leaving Key West for Stock Island and Marathon on U.S. 1 (Overseas Highway) northbound. Marathon lies 45 miles ahead. Photos taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 spans Cow Key Channel between Florida A1A (South Roosevelt Boulevard) and the west junction with College Road. Photo taken 05/07/06.
College Road loops 0.75 miles north of U.S. 1 (Overseas Highway) on Stock Island. The ring road serves the main campus of Florida Keys Community College. Photo taken 05/07/06.
A pair of signalized intersections join U.S. 1 (Overseas Highway) with Cross Street and MacDonald Avenue on Stock Island. Cross Street heads south to 12th Avenue while MacDonald Avenue veers east to Maloney Avenue and 1st Street. Photo taken 05/07/06.
A pair of two-lane bridges span Boca Chica Channel between Stock Island and Boca Chica Key. Like most of the bridges along the Overseas Highway, a companion two-lane span remains alongside the present U.S. 1 as a fishing pier. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 north reaches Boca Chica Key, home of Naval Air Station Key West. Photo taken 05/07/06.
A trumpet interchange joins U.S. 1 (Overseas Highway) with Saratoga Avenue on Boca Chica Key. Saratoga Avenue serves Naval Air Station Key West, home of a naval flight training school. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Northbound at the Saratoga Avenue ramp departure for Naval Air Station Key West. This was the only interchange along the Overseas Highway until two exits were constructed north of Key Largo. Photo taken 05/07/06.
The on-ramp from Naval Air Station Key West merges onto U.S. 1 (Overseas Highway) northbound ahead of the crossing onto Rockland Key. Midway Avenue merges with the Overseas Highway ahead. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Northbound reassurance marker posted at Rockland Key. The Overseas Highway narrows from four overall lanes to two east of the intersection with Midway Avenue at East Rockland Key. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Mileage sign listing the distances to Big Pine Key and Marathon, the next two areas of higher population along the route to the Florida mainland. Photo taken 05/07/06.
The narrow Rockland Channel separates East Rockland Key from Big Coppitt Key. Big Coppitt Key is home to an array of residential streets both north and south of U.S. 1. Photo taken 05/07/06.
A sign announces the entrance onto Big Coppitt Key along U.S. 1 northbound. A short distance east is the departure of Boca Chica Road. Boca Chica Road meanders south along the east and southern periphery of the island, serving residential areas before ending near Naval Air Station Key West. The original Overseas Highway followed the south coastline of Big Coppitt and Rockland Keys to Boca Chica Channel. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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U.S. 1 spans Shark Channel between Big Coppitt Key and the narrow Shark Key. An older concrete bridge remains along the south side of the span as a fishing pier. Photos taken 05/07/06.
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The Overseas Highway follows a long series of interlaced causeway and bridge spans between Shark and Sugarloaf Keys. Saddle Bunch Number Seven through Two Channels allow tidal flows between the separate bodies of water. In addition the old U.S. 1 roadway and bridges remain in tact throughout the stretch between the two islands. Photos taken 05/07/06.
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A few residential streets spur south from U.S. 1 ahead of Lower Sugarloaf Channel. Otherwise extremely shallow turquoise waters spread along side the two-lane causeway. Photos taken 05/07/06.
Northbound travelers arrive at Lower Sugarloaf Key after spanning Harris Channel. Lower Sugarloaf Key comprises an island carved into canal-themed subdivisions along both South Point Drive and Sugarloaf Boulevard (unsigned Monroe County 939A). Photo taken 05/07/06.
A flasher hangs over the intersection of U.S. 1 (Overseas Highway) with unsigned Monroe County 939A (Sugarloaf Boulevard). Sugarloaf Boulevard travels southeast along the original Overseas Highway alignment to Old State Road 4A. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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Continuing north, U.S. 1 traverses another lengthy section of causeway from Harris Gap Channel east to Park Key and Sugarloaf Key. Photos taken 05/07/06.
Northbound at the Park Channel crossing between the undeveloped Park Key and Sugarloaf Key. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 meets Crane Boulevard at a signalized intersection on Sugarloaf Key. Crane Boulevard ventures north from the Overseas Highway to Canal Drive and Happy Jack Mangrove. A second intersection of significance sees the original Overseas Highway meet U.S. 1 ahead of the Bow Channel crossing. The old roadway hugs the coastline from Pirates Cove south to Tarpon Creek. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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Bow Channel separates Sugarloaf and Cudjoe Keys. The old bridge remains in use as a parallel fishing pier along the south side of U.S. 1. Pirates Cove and Cudjoe Bay lie to the south. Photos taken 05/07/06.
Cudjoe Key is home to two main concentrations of homes along the south side of U.S. 1 along Cudjoe Bay. Otherwise Blimp Road spurs northward to Valencia Road and Kemp Channel. Kemp Channel separates the Key with Summerland Key. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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The undeveloped Out, Venture, and Venture Out Keys lie to the southwest of the Kemp Channel crossing. Crab, Money, and the southern reaches of Summerland Key lies to the southeast. Photos taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 northbound enters the heart of Summerland Key's population center. Meeting the Overseas Highway here is unsigned Monroe County 942 (East Shore Drive), a southwest spur leading to Ocean Drive and the island's end. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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Crossing Niles Channel between Summerland and Ramrod Keys. Disjointed sections of original U.S. 1 remain in place along the south side of the highway. Photos taken 05/07/06.
Mangroves and other low vegetation line the sides of U.S. 1 across Ramrod Key. SR 4A (original Overseas Highway) parallels U.S. 1 as a northbound side frontage road here. West Indies Road heads south to Newfound Harbor while Mako and Coral Avenues serve residents to the north. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 spans Torch Ramrod Key ahead of the intersection with Middle Torch Road. Middle Torch Road leads northwest to Middle Torch Key and Dorn Road to Big Torch Key. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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The shallow Torch Channel segregates Middle Torch and Little Torch Keys. SR 4A, a northern spur of the old Overseas Highway, leads away from U.S. 1 to an RV park at Barracuda Drive adjacent to Pine Channel. Southward facing, a lone multi-story cottage rises along the banks of Torch Channel from near Kings Cove Road. Photos taken 05/07/06.
Nearing the intersection with Barry Avenue north and Pirates Road south. Bay Avenue serves residences along the west banks of Pine Channel. Pirates Road does the same for those south of U.S. 1, while also providing access to the Little Palm Island ferry service. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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Two short bridges and a narrow causeway carry U.S. 1 across the Pine Channel toward Big Pine Key. The individual breaks in the causeway are designated North and South Pine Channels respectively. Photos taken 05/07/06.
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Once U.S. 1 reaches Big Pine Key, travelers are advised of the Key Deer habitat on the island. Big Pine Key is home to the National Key Deer Refuge, an area of land designation for the preservation of the endangered Key Deer. The island derives its name from the pine trees that grow here. Oolitic limestone comprises much of the island, and these rocky formations contain pockets of fresh water, so much that Big Pine Key has the most fresh water of any Florida Key. Photos taken 05/07/06.
The National Key Deer Refuge encompasses much of Big Pine, No Name, and Refuge Keys. Key Deer are small animals approximately one third the size of traditional deer that are native to just a few of the Lower Keys. Because of their low population numbers, estimated to be at 800 by the mid-2000s, U.S. 1 through Big Pine Key features protective fences, wildlife underpasses, and reduced speed limits. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Decommissioned Monroe County 940 (Key Deer Boulevard) spurs northward from U.S. 1 (Overseas Highway) to northern Big Pine Key, with connections via the 1938-Overseas Highway (Watson Boulevard) to No Name Key. No Name Key, with relatively little development, lies east of Big Pine Key across the Bogie Channel. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Use former Monroe County 940 north for the National Key Deer Visitor Center, Blue Hole (a freshwater pond created from an abandoned oolite quarry), and the Big Pine Road Prison. Watson Boulevard represents the original Overseas Highway east from its end at Pine Channel to Bahia Honda Channel at the east end on No Name Key. The original road was signed as Florida 4A originally. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Metal fences line the Overseas Highway right-of-way to prevent Key Deer from crossing U.S. 1 as the roadway turns southeast between Spanish Harbor and Coupon Bight. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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U.S. 1 turns east again to cross Spanish Harbor Channel between Big Pine Key and the Spanish Harbor Keys. The undeveloped Keys lie between the lengthy Spanish Harbor Channel and Bahia Honda Bridges. Waters to the south of the spans open directly into the Straits of Florida. Photos taken 05/07/06.
Once on the Spanish Keys, U.S. 1 opens into a four-lane divided highway. Impatient drivers finally have the first chance to pass without facing oncoming traffic since Rockland Key. As it turns out, the Florida Highway Patrol realize this and enforce the 55 mph speed limit near the west end of the Bahia Honda Bridge (as pictured here). Photo taken 05/07/06.
A small overlook and gravel parking area lies at the east end of the Spanish Keys. An abandoned structure and pipeline also lie south of U.S. 1 at the west end of the severed Bahia Honda railroad Bridge. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 northbound at the beginning of the Bahia Honda Channel bridges. The twin two-lane concrete bridges opened in 1972 to replace the adjacent original two-lane truss bridge. The Bahia Honda Bridge spans the deepest channel in the Florida Keys at 35 feet.1 Photo taken 05/07/06.
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The Bahia Honda Bridge carries U.S. 1 east to Bahia Honda Key and Bahia Honda State Park. The concrete bridges travel a short distance north of the original 1912-built Florida East Coast Railroad bridge. Rail service to Key West ended when the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 destroyed over 40 miles of the track. The state purchased the right-of-way in 1936 and began constructing the first Overseas Highway. The 1938-opened roadway included the conversion of the Bahia Honda railroad truss bridge into use as a highway bridge. This entailed constructing a concrete deck on top of the existing superstructure.2 Photos taken 05/07/06.
A second cut separates the original Bahia Honda Bridge from the west end of Bahia Key. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 northbound reaches Bahia Honda Key. Calling the island home is Bahia Honda State Park, a 524-acre facility featuring snorkeling, swimming, and fishing opportunities. The park was established in 1961 by an initial 13-acre purchase by the state.1 Photo taken 05/07/06.
Waters from the Florida Straits lap along the southern shores of Bahia Honda Key a stone's throw away from the Overseas Highway. Photo taken 05/07/06.
A short bridge spans the Ohio Bahia Honda Channel along U.S. 1. Ohio Key is a relatively small island that is home to an RV Park and Marina. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Looking south of Ohio Key, a small stand of mangroves rises above the water level to provide a picnic or swimming area for local boaters. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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U.S. 1 hugs the southern shores of Missouri and Little Duck Keys ahead of the Seven Mile Bridge. Original Overseas Highway bridges remain in use as fishing piers along the north side of the Ohio Missouri and Little Duck Missouri Channels. Photos taken 05/07/06.


 

Sources:

  1. History for Bahia Honda State Park » Florida State Parks. http://www.floridastateparks.org/bahiahonda/History.cfm
  2. History Of Overseas Highway, Florida Keys History Museum.
  3. History of Marathon, Florida Keys History Museum.
  4. History Of Pigeon Key, Florida Keys History Museum.


Photo Credits:

    01/13/02 by . 05/07/06 by AARoads and Justin Cozart.

Page Updated 07-02-2014.