The Real Deal Miami

Seven Mile Bridge restoration sparks controversy

August 21, 2012 04:30PM

Old Seven Mile Bridge

Popular with amblers, joggers and stroller pushers, Florida Keys 100-year-old Seven Mile Bridge has deteriorated over the last century and its days may be numbered. But according to the Miami Herald, a group of advocates calling themselves “Friends of Old Seven” are looking to work with local governments and raise the $16 million to $20 million necessary to rescue the 2.2-mile bridge. The group is attempting to involve Monroe County, the city of Marathon and the Florida Department of Transportation in the renovation plan. However, since the bridge is used solely for recreation, the biggest challenge faced by the group will be convincing local governments to scrap their recession-strapped coffers for what amounts to a park. The new transportation friendly Seven Mile Bridge was finished in 1982.

“We’ve been trying to give up the old bridge’s ownership for decades,” said Gus Pego, FDOT’s District 6 Secretary. “It’s a recreational facility, not a transportation facility. [… ] And what I tell commissioners and folks who ask me: ‘Given our limited budget, wouldn’t you rather we maintain the new bridge?’ ”[Miami Herald]Christopher Cameron