String of Pearls: The Seven Mile Bridge – Not Really

Marathon and Little Duck Keys


January 2018

Forty-two bridges connect many of the islands that make up the Florida Keys.  The longest one is the Seven Mile Bridge.  It is 6.79 miles long.  You probably are not wondering why it isn’t called the Six Point Seven Nine Mile Bridge.  At one time it was the longest bridge in the world.  Now it doesn’t even crack the top 74.

The Six Point Seven Nine Mile Bridge, which connects Knights Key, which is part of the city of Marathon, and Little Duck Key, is actually two bridges, three if you discount the singularity of time.  To wit…

First built as a railroad bridge in 1912, it served as a major lifeline to many of the islands that make up the String of Pearls.  In 1938 it was converted to accommodate highway traffic.  Then in 1972 another, larger, sturdier bridge was built in the shadow of the old one.

A section of the new structure rises in a graceful arc 65 feet above the surface of Moser channel, where the waters north and west of the Keys merge with the Atlantic Ocean.  The rest of the bridge seems at times to just skim the water.

The old bridge — that is, the second bridge, or the refurbished first bridge, originally named the Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge — was then connected to Bahia Honda State Park and converted to a hiker and biker roadway.

Every April, if you are lucky enough to get entry, you can run in the Seven Mile Bridge Run.  You get to breathe heavily and enjoy the spectacular ocean view.  The Seven Mile Bridge Run, like the Seven Mile Bridge, is not seven miles long.

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