U.S. 1 South - Lower Florida Keys

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U.S. 1 south
U.S. 1 (Overseas Highway) leaves the Seven Mile Bridge and arrives at Little Duck Key. The parallel old bridge provides a fishing pier to the north of the bridge. Little Duck Key otherwise is inhabited. Photo taken 05/07/06.
The Little Duck Missouri Channel separates Little Duck Key from the equally uninhabited Missouri Key. Note another parallel old Overseas Highway bridge to the right. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Another two lane bridge carries the Overseas Highway across Ohio Missouri Channel toward Ohio Key. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Ohio Key is home to Sunshine Key RV Resort. The mobile home community encompasses all land between U.S. 1 and Florida Bay. Pictured here is the Ohio Bahia Honda Channel bridge. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 southbound enters Bahia Honda Key, a large island protected by Bahia Honda State Park. The Overseas Highway widens to four-lanes for the next four miles. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Four-lane U.S. 1 approaches the entrance to Bahia Honda State Park. Activities popular within the state park include snorkeling, swimming, and fishing. The 524-acre island began its transition into a state park with a 13-acre purchase by the state in 1961.1 Photo taken 05/07/06.
The Bahia Honda Bridge carries U.S. 1 west from Bahia Honda Key to the Spanish Harbor Keys. Paralleling the highway bridge to the south is the original 1912-completed Florida East Coast Railroad bridge. Rail service to Florida Key West ended when the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 destroyed over 40 miles of track. The state purchased the right-of-way in 1936 and began constructing the original 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 Photo taken 05/07/06.
Midway across the twin Bahia Honda Bridges on U.S. 1 southbound. Opened in 1972,2 the concrete bridges that carry U.S. 1 today replaced the aged two-lane span to the south. The Bahia Honda Bridge spans the deepest channel in the Florida Keys at 35 feet.3 Photo taken 05/07/06.
Southbound travelers reach the uninhabited Spanish Harbor Keys. An abandoned structure and pipeline lie to the south of U.S. 1 at the west end of the severed Bahia Honda railroad Bridge. The four-lane highway quickly reduces to two lanes ahead. Photo taken 05/07/06.
The Overseas Highway passes between small stands of mangrove trees on West Summerland Key. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 leaves West Summerland Key across the Spanish Harbor Channel. Drivers are advised of the National Key Deer Refuge ahead. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Like most other bridges, the 1938-Overseas Highway bridge parallels the current Overseas Highway bridge close by as a fishing pier. Spanish Harbor lies to the north. U.S. 1 turns northwest at the west end of the bridge. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Entering Big Pine Key and the National Key Deer Refuge on U.S. 1 south. U.S. 1 kinks northward toward the built-up areas of Big Pine Key. Big Pine Key, named for the pine trees that grow on the island, is just over 5,800 acres in area. Oolitic limestone comprises much of the island, and these rocky formations contain pockets of fresh water. Despite the small sized of the island, Big Pine Key is home to the most fresh water of any Florida Key.4 Photo taken 05/07/06.
Large caution signs lie at both entrances to the National Key Deer Refuge. Established in 1957, the wildlife refuge protects the endangered species Key Deer on both Big Pine and No Name Keys. There was an estimated 800 Key Deer alive in the mid-2000s, up from an estimated 27 in 1957. Key Deer are the smallest member of the Virginia white-tailed deer species. Bucks stand between 28-32" with an average weight of 80 lbs.5 Photo taken 05/07/06.
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The speed limit varies between 45 mph during the day and 35 mph at night through the National Key Deer Refuge. A wildlife underpass allows the deer to cross from one side to another without interacting with U.S. 1. Metal fences line along the Overseas Highway right-of-way otherwise to protect the Key Deer from the busy road. Photos taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 turns westward again after Beach Drive. A number of businesses and residences lie along the highway and in the adjoining street grid. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Key Deer Boulevard (former CR 940) 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 lies east of Big Pine Key across the Bogie Channel. The island primarily is undeveloped and is part of the National Key Deer Refuge. There are a few beach houses however on the northwest corner of the island. 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.
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U.S. 1 leaves Big Pine Key and spans North Pine and South Pine Channels. A narrow causeway carries U.S. 1 between the two waterways. Photos taken 05/07/06.
Mileage sign posted after U.S. 1 southbound enters Little Torch Key. Boca Chica, home to Naval Air Station Key West, lies 22 miles ahead. Pirates Road intersects the Overseas Highway ahead. The north-south road serves coastal residences along South Pine Channel. Photo taken 05/07/06.
The 1938-Overseas Highway returns to U.S. 1 via SR-4A on Little Torch Key. The roadway spurs north to an RV park at Barracuda Drive adjacent to Pine Channel. There is no bridge between the Little Torch Key SR-4A and Watson Boulevard (old Florida 4A) on Big Pine Key. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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U.S. 1 spans Torch Channel between Little Torch and Middle Torch Keys. Shallow waters give the water a very light color along the causeways that carry the Overseas Highway through the lower Keys. Photos taken 05/07/06.
Once on Middle Torch Key, U.S. 1 intersects Middle Torch Road. Middle Torch Road ventures northward to Dorn Road for Big Torch Key. U.S. 1 crosses the Torch Ramrod Channel ahead onto Ramrod Key. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 meets West Indies Drive on Ramrod Key. Development along the island is confined to Indies Drive to the south and along and north of old sections of SR-4A. Old SR-4A parallels the Overseas Highway nearby and is accessible via Mako, Munson and Coral Avenues. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Continuing west toward the Niles Channel on Ramrod Key along U.S. 1 southbound. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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Niles Channel, a somewhat wide waterway, separates Ramrod and Summerland Keys. Two segments of the original U.S. 1 bridge remain in use as fishing piers along the south side of the channel crossing. Photos taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 southbound arrives at Summerland Key. Meeting the Overseas Highway ahead is unsigned Monroe County 942 (East Shore Drive). East Shore Drive heads south from U.S. 1 to Ocean and West Shore Drives and south Summerland Key. Much of the land south of U.S. 1 is home to residences part of Summerland Key Cove. Photo taken 05/07/06.
The Kemp Channel separates Summerland and Cudjoe Keys. At Cudjoe Key, U.S. 1 straddles the southern reaches of the island near Cudjoe Bay. Canal-lined streets comprise the residential neighborhoods on the south side of the island. Blimp Road meanwhile stems north to Valencia Road and Kemp Channel. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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Next in line for southbound motorists is the Bow Channel crossing to Sugarloaf Key. Paralleling the Channel bridge to the south is another segment of old U.S. 1 as a fishing pier. Once U.S. 1 enters Sugarloaf Key, the US highway meets another segment of the original Overseas Highway. The old road loops south and west along the original Overseas Highway alignment, meeting U.S. 1 again west of Harris Gap Channel. Photos taken 05/07/06.
A signalized intersection governs the movements of U.S. 1 (Overseas Highway) and Crane Boulevard on Sugarloaf Key. Crane Boulevard travels north from the Overseas Highway through the built-up areas to Happy Jack Mangrove. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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U.S. 1 travels along a narrow causeway through the shallow waters of Upper Sugarloaf Sound. The Park Channel separates Sugarloaf Key from Park Key, a small undeveloped island. Then U.S. 1 spans North Harris and Harris Gap Channels ahead of west Sugarloaf Key. Photos taken 05/07/06.
Sugarloaf Boulevard meets U.S. 1 at west Sugarloaf Key. Sugarloaf Boulevard ventures southeast through canal-lined neighborhoods to the old SR 4A. Old SR 4A travels west from Monroe County 939A to Sugarloaf Beach before petering out in an undeveloped area. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 continues southwest to South Point Drive and the Harris Channel Crossing north of Lower Sugarloaf Sound. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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Shallow waters surround the Harris and Lower Sugarloaf Channel bridges along the Overseas Highway. A small undeveloped island lies between the two spans. Old U.S. 1 remains in use as a fishing pier parallel to the Lower Sugarloaf Channel bridge otherwise. Photos taken 05/07/06.
A narrow strip of built-up land lies south of U.S. 1 at Bay Point Park along the west edge of Lower Sugarloaf Channel. East and West Circle Drives link the Overseas Highway with Bay Drive. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Ankle deep waters lie to the north of U.S. 1 within the vicinity of Bay Point Park. Park Drive spurs south and splits with Blue Water Drive to serve two residential strips east of Saddlebunch Number Three Channel. Photo taken 05/07/06.
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The Overseas Highway follows a long series of interlaced causeway and bridge spans between Sugarloaf Key and Shark Key. Saddle Bunch Number Two through Seven Channels allow water to flow north-south between the segregated 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.
U.S. 1 meets Cannon Royal Drive just west of Shark Channel. Cannon Royal Drive stems north through the Shark Key community from the Overseas Highway. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 next enters Big Coppitt Key at its grid of streets. Departing to the south is 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.
Rockland Channel allows tidal waters to flow in and out of the enclosed sound between Big Coppitt and Rockland Keys. The U.S. 1 span over the inlet lies west of the intersection with 4th Street. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 arrives at East Rockland Key, home of Naval Air Station Key West. Midway Avenue splits from the Overseas Highway ahead for Rockland Road and the Naval facility. U.S. 1 expands to four lanes ahead in anticipation of Key West. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 (Overseas Highways) enters Boca Chica Key from Rockland Key ahead of the trumpet interchange with Saratoga Avenue south to Key West Naval Air Station. Key West Naval Air Station, a combat air training facility, occupies the majority of Boca Chica Key. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Traffic destined for Key West Naval Air Station departs U.S. 1 south for Saratoga Avenue. Saratoga Avenue quickly encounters the N.A.S. gate south of the four-lane highway. Photo taken 05/07/06.
A pair of two-lane bridges carry the Overseas Highway over Boca Chica Channel between Key West Naval Air Station and the city of Key West. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Midway across the Boca Chica Channel Bridge on U.S. 1 south. As with many of the Keys are bridges, an older two-lane bridge parallels the Boca Chica Channel Bridge to the south as a fishing pier. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 reaches Raccoon Key and the eastern reaches of Key West. Key West was the largest city in Florida with a population of 18,000 when Florida was a territory of the United States. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Approaching the intersection with Key Haven Boulevard on U.S. 1 south. Key Haven Boulevard spurs northward from the Overseas Highway to serve the residences of Raccoon Key. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 enters Stock Island and intersects Macdonald Avenue and 5th Street. 5th Street leads south to Cow Key while MacDonald Avenue heads east to Maloney Avenue and southeastern reaches of Stock Island. Photo taken 05/07/06.
College Road loops across the northern reaches of Stock Island from U.S. 1. College Road serves the main campus of Florida Keys Community College on the 1.75-mile drive between its end points. Photo taken 05/07/06.
A short pair of bridges carry U.S. 1 (Overseas Highway) over the Cow Key Channel between Stock Island and Key West itself. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Drivers split between Florida A1A (South Roosevelt Boulevard) south and U.S. 1 (North Roosevelt Boulevard) south after the Cow Key Channel Bridge. Florida A1A loops through the southern reaches of Key West, serving Thompson Island, Key West International Airport (EYW) and Smathers Beach. U.S. 1 meanwhile heads to the commercial district of the city and Downtown. Photo taken 05/07/06.
The Overseas Highway ends at the U.S. 1 split with Florida A1A at Roosevelt Boulevard. Both highways provide four overall lanes on their westward treks through Key West. Florida A1A meets Flagler Avenue three blocks to the south. Flagler Avenue serves residential areas north of the airport. For Florida A1A, the highway is vastly unsigned west of its intersection with the Overseas Highway. Photo taken 05/07/06.
North Roosevelt Boulevard carries U.S. 1 along the Gulf of Mexico waterfront between Florida A1A and Sigsbee Road. A center-turn lane provides movements to the many commercial establishments to the south. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Southbound reassurance marker posted along the waterfront of North Roosevelt Boulevard near 17th Street. Shopping centers line the road along the south side with some of the big box retail establishments found in any other part of the United States. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 (North Roosevelt Boulevard) intersects Sigsbee Road, a causeway linking Key West with Dredgers Key, and proceeds west to 10th Street in this scene. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 again kisses the water front at the intersections with 7th Street and Hilton Haven Road. Trumbo Point lies to the right as U.S. 1 parallels the Garrison Bight Photo taken 05/07/06.
Continuing toward Downtown Key West, U.S. 1 (North Roosevelt Boulevard) next intersects 5th Street south and MacMillon Drive. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Outside of the waterfront views, the frontage along U.S. 1 differs little from the frontage of any other suburban landscape through eastern Key West. Nationwide chain businesses dot the landscape to the intersection with 5th Street south. 5th Street heads south to Monroe County 5A (Flagler Avenue). Photo taken 05/07/06.
Approaching the intersection with 1st Street on North Roosevelt Boulevard west. 1st Street carries the unsigned Monroe County 5A north from Flagler Avenue to U.S. 1. 1st Street continues northwest as Palm Avenue to the historic seaport district and Fleming Key. Photo taken 05/07/06.
North Roosevelt Boulevard presses west from Charterboat Row toward the street grid of Key West. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 leaves the commercial district of Key West at the intersection with Jose Marti Drive south and Eisenhower Drive north. North Roosevelt boulevard becomes Truman Avenue here. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Jose Marti Drive travels south along Bayview Park to Pearl and Leon streets nearby. Eisenhower Drive ends seven blocks to the north at Palm Avenue. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 reduces to two overall lanes along Truman Avenue between Jose Marti Drive and Whitehead Street. Photo taken 05/07/06.
White Street intersects U.S. 1 (Truman Avenue) at the next signalized intersection. White Street heads south to Higgs Beach, Rest Beach and White Street Pier. Photo taken 05/07/06.
The street grid becomes more dense with dwellings and businesses along Truman Avenue west from White Street west. White Street north continues a short distance to Eaton Street. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Row homes, power lines, and narrow side walks encompass the narrow right of way of U.S. 1 along Truman Avenue west. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 remains well signed on its last mile through Key West. Picture here is a reassurance marker along Truman Avenue west near Windsor Lane. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Southbound at the signalized intersection with Windsor Lane on Truman Avenue. Windsor Lane links U.S. 1 with Amelia and Royal Streets to the south and Angela Street and Passover Lane to the north. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 (Truman Avenue) south at Simonton Street. Simonton Street travels the length of Key West between Dog Beach and Key West Bight. Photo taken 05/07/06.
An overhead sign advises motorists of the upcoming intersection with Duval Street. Duval Street provides a main route into Downtown Key West one block east of U.S. 1's stretch along Whitehead Street. Photo taken 05/07/06.
Entering the intersection of Truman Avenue and Duval Street along U.S. 1 south. Duval Street ends at Mallory Square and Pier to the north and South Street and South Beach to the south. Use Whitehead Street south ahead for the Southernmost Point in the U.S.A. monument. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 takes its final turn from Truman Avenue onto Whitehead Street north. Whitehead Street carries the US route for its final five blocks toward the central business and tourist district of Key West. Truman Avenue west otherwise continues toward the Truman Annex military complex at Fort Street. Photo taken 05/07/06.
The second to last reassurance marker of U.S. 1 stands just north of Truman Avenue on Whitehead Street north. The final stretch of U.S. 1 heads into the tourist areas of Key West. Cruise ships dock at Key West and so the area is often dotted with tourists on bicycles, scooters, and small tourist shuttles. Whitehead Street offers a slow drive for U.S. 1 south, which actually faces northwest at this point Photo taken 05/07/06.
The last reassurance sign of U.S. 1 posted on Whitehead Street north near Petronia Street. Use Southard Street ahead for Historic Fort Zachary Taylor State Park and the Truman Annex military complex. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 (Whitehead Street) south at the intersection with Southard Street. Southward Street heads east through the Truman Annex main entrance to White Street south of Downtown Key West. Photo taken 05/07/06.
U.S. 1 ends at the Whitehead Street intersection with Fleming Street adjacent to the Monroe County Courthouse at Downtown Key West. Fleming Street travels east from the Truman Annex area nearby to White Street. Whitehead Street north continues another five blocks to Mallory Square and Pier. Photo taken 05/07/06.
A closer look at what probably is the most photographed end sign of any highway. U.S. 1 ends here after a 2,376-mile drive through Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. A companion begin sign and milepost zero placard accompany the end sign across the street. Photo taken 05/07/06.


 

Sources:

  1. Florida State Parks - BAHIA HONDA STATE PARK.
  2. History Of Overseas Highway, Florida Keys History Museum.
  3. History for Bahia Honda State Park » Florida State Parks. http://www.floridastateparks.org/bahiahonda/History.cfm.
  4. History of Big Pine Key, Florida Keys History Museum.
  5. National Key Deer Refuge | Southeast Region.


Photo Credits:

05/07/06 by AARoads and Justin Cozart

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Page Updated 07-02-2014.