Driving On The Seven Mile Bridge..Keep Your Eyes On Road Though!
US1 is the main road that runs in and out of the Florida Keys.
It actually travels the full length of the East of America from New Brunswick in Canada, intercepting such famous names as Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington and ends up of course in Key West.
Our bit of the highway down to Key West may only be a tiny bit of this amazing road but it still will mean that from entering Florida you will have to drive 547 miles until its end.
If you think of all the great roads that you can travel its not often that you will think of US1 for some reason or other.
The Transamerica Highway……yes.
But US1 really competes in the historic stakes with roads like the old route 66, but its not as famous….I suppose its just that it doesn’t have a song written about it.
But as we said before this road traverses some of the most important cities in the history of America, so should have more people desperate to travel its length.
But this site is called what’s at Florida keys, so let’s focus more on the bit of US 1 that will interest anyone with a fascination with the Florida Keys.
The Florida Keys as I’m sure you know if you have read some of the other information on this site, is a group of over 100 islands that stretch in an arch out into the Gulf Of Mexico and the Atlantic.
And so it had an awful amount of water that needed to be crossed between the islands, and this problem means that we have to mention one man Henry Flager.
Henry Flagler was a man who knew that there had to be better commercial links to the Florida Keys than there were previously, as the Florida Keys were falling behind the rest of America.
Although it had some of the best fishing, and sailing conditions, the whole place was a little bit third world.
So he so set to work building a railway in 1912 that would bring things up to date.
But unfortunately for Mr Flagler all his hard work (or at least many sections of it) was blown away and extremely damaged in the big storm of 1935, and instead of repairing the railways, it was decided that they would extend US1 from Miami down to Key West instead.
When the road was completed in 1938, the damaged railway was even built into the foundations, with a few of the original rail way spans, and even some of the columns that were specially constructed to support the incredibly weight of the laden freight trains forming part of the roads infrastructure.
And since that date when the road first opened, millions of people have travelled the 113 miles that crosses the 42 bridges that lead from key to key.
Whilst I’m sure if they are anything like me, gaping in wonder at the truly amazing views on both sides of the highway.
It is truly amazing.
I think the Overseas Highway as it was quite obviously going to end up being called is THE road that I never, ever get fed up with seeing loom up in front of me, as I cover the miles of tarmac crossing Florida.
US1 through the Florida Keys
Of course the Overseas highway runs through the entire length of the Florida Keys so take a look at this page from our friends at Wikipedia who breakdown the route rather well.
No point in me writing about all that stuff when they do it rather well
If you fancy looking at some great information about the rest of the road away from the Florida Keys then simply watch the video below, which will give you a great overview as to the islands, the characters and the strange stuff you will see on your adventures.
Drive Down US1 Without Climbing Off Your Sofa
Presented by Radiolynxcontent
The End OF US1
The end of US1 if you are travelling down towards Key West, is not quite at the southernmost point marker as you would think.
Even though it has covered a couple of thousand miles from up in Canada it actually stops about one block west of Duval Street at Whitehead Street.
Quite a distance away from the famous multicoloured marker at Whitehead Street where naturally you would have thought it would end.
And to make it even more…well, a damp squib, the road is just a simple crossroads. It doesn’t look like any road would finish here, let alone an epic like the Overseas Highway.
The Sign reads “ END US1” and mile marker 0, and is a particular favourite for people who like to steal these kind of things, and take them home.
The Most Famous Parts Of US1
Although as we said earlier US1 zips in and out of New York, Philadelphia and Boston to name just three of the cities it hits on its way down to Key West, probably the most famous part in the Keys is the Seven Mile Bridge.
Or to give it the name that it should really have…the 6.79 mile bridge.
Nah, stick with the seven mile its sounds sooooo much better.
This bridge was once one of the longest bridges on earth, and when built although a marvel of engineering could have been made a little bit wider if truth be known.
It only spanned about 20 feet across, which was barely wide enough for the traffic to travel north and south bound, without some seriously scary moments occurring.
Two narrow strips of concrete, with two amazing views on either side meant that it had its fair share of collisions in the early days, leading to quite terrible traffic jams.
Fortunately in those days there wasn’t as many vehicles being used, so god knows what it would be like today.
Fortunately for us things have improved and several improvements have been made to this part of the road up to the current date.
It's not just cars that like this part of the bridge as each year, the Sheriffs department close the part of the bridge near Marathon at 6:45am until 9:00am for the Seven mile run.
Its the only fun run in the world, that occurs 100% across water.