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Seven Mile Bridge, Florida Keys

Updated on November 16, 2016

Seven Mile Bridge

O. K., the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys is actually only 6.79 miles long, but it is still an important piece of the Florida landscape. The original bridge was a railway that was destroyed in hurricane in 1935, and was reconstructed to accommodate automobile traffic.

Creative Commons photo courtesy Wikimedia/Matrek

Creative Commons Photo Courtesy: Sulekha/Raja Ramchandra

7 mile bridge keys
7 mile bridge keys

History and Construction

Actually, there are two bridges in this location. The older bridge was constructed from 1909-1912 under the direction of Henry Flagler as part of the Florida East Coast Railway's Key West Extension, also known as the Overseas Railroad.

The old bridge was badly damaged by the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, and later refurbished by the United States Government as an automobile highway bridge. It had a swing span that opened to allow passage of boat traffic, near where the bridge crosses Pigeon Key, a small island where a work camp for Flagler's railroad was located. Hurricane Donna in 1960 caused further damage.

Today's road bridge was constructed from 1948 to 1982. Almost all of the original bridge still exists, used as fishing piers and access to Pigeon Key, but the swing span over the Moser Channel has been removed.

The new bridge is a box-girder structure built from precast, concrete sections, making up 440 spans. Near the center, the bridge rises in an arc to provide 65-foot high clearance for boat passage. The rest of the bridge is considerably closer to the water surface. The new bridge does not cross Pigeon Key.

The total length of the new bridge is actually 6.79 miles, which is just slightly shorter than Flagler's original railway bridge.

Creative Commons photo courtesy Wikiedia/Phil Hollman

Bridge Items

7 mile bridge key west
7 mile bridge key west

Additional Facts

The historic bridge has attracted many film makers. Movie scenes include; True Lies, 2 Fast 2 Furious, the James Bond film Licence to Kill, CrissCross, and Up Close & Personal. In True Lies, filmed in the early 1990s, a section of the old bridge is shown being destroyed by missile strikes. The missiles were edited in, and the explosions were done on an 80-foot model of the bridge, but filming was indeed done on the actual bridge, and the "destroyed" section is the former swing span, which had been removed upon completion of the new bridge.

Every April the bridge is closed for approximately 2.5 hours on a Saturday and a "fun run," known as the Seven Mile Bridge Run, of 1,500 runners is held commemorating the Florida Keys bridge rebuilding project. The event began in 1982 to mark the completion of a federally funded bridge building program that replaced spans that oil tycoon Henry Flagler constructed in the early 1900s to serve as a foundation for his Overseas Railroad.

Public domain photo courtesy USA.gov

key west florida
key west florida

Public domain photo courtesy Wikimedia/Lightenoughtotravel

"Key" Question

Have you visited the Florida Keys?

See results

Seven Mile Bridge in Video

Any Thoughts on the Bridge? - Feel free to comment here.

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    • profile image

      jetcharterquote 

      4 years ago

      Impressive bridge. I think I would like to see it from the air.

    • roby01 profile image

      roby01 

      5 years ago

      I have done the route from Miami to the Florida Keys several years ago. A beautiful journey that I still remember.

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 

      5 years ago from Naperville, IL

      We loved our visit to the Keys and found the bridge fascinating. Definitely want to return one day. Interesting lens!

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 

      5 years ago

      I've never been to the Keys. I was close by last year but didn't make it.

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 

      5 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      Key West is great. So laid back. I still have a Sloppy Joe's T-shirt from my visit years ago.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 

      5 years ago

      This is such a great example of what can be done if governments are willing. We have areas in Australia that could do with this kind of construction. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2013. Hugs

    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 

      5 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      I've been on a few of the long bridges in Florida,but I can't imagine one 7 miles long. I don't think I would like to be on any of them in a storm. I enjoyed your lens

    • profile image

      webgal 

      5 years ago

      do they ever have a run along this bridge?

    • larrybla lm profile image

      larrybla lm 

      5 years ago

      i WAS STATIONED IN fLORIDA AT mACdILL afb. nEVER GOT TO kEY wEST. iTS BEAUTIFUL.

    • profile image

      Dougster 

      5 years ago

      I love Key West. We usually fly into Ft Lauderdale and drive down. How do you get those blue text boxes on your Lens?

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      I've taken that drive a couple of times and it is beautiful. The last time, we even saw some Key Deer!

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 

      5 years ago

      We lived in Key Largo and took several trips to Key West when we had out of state visitors. We ran the 7 mile bridge for a fund raiser one year as a family. I ran about 3 1/2 miles and walked the rest, the bridge sways and vibrates, and that made me very dizzy. I've ridden my motorcycle across it many times also.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Its just nice to stop by again to take a look at this bridge, its amazing. :)

    • Shibamom LM profile image

      Shibamom LM 

      5 years ago

      I haven't been to the Keys in many years, but would love to go back. You brought back many great memories!

    • OrlandoTipster profile image

      OrlandoTipster 

      5 years ago

      It would be a great scenic drive

    • profile image

      contentbychris 

      6 years ago

      I love the Florida Keys and try to get there at least once a year. The seven mile bridge is a beautiful drive, especially the water and must be done in the daytime to make sure you see it.

      If you go to Key West, make sure you do the trolley or the train tour.

    • profile image

      contentbychris 

      6 years ago

      I love the Keys and try to get there at least once a year. The seven mile bridge is such a great drive but you need to make sure you drive it in the daytime so you can see the beautiful scenery, especially the water.

      Make sure you do one of the trolley or train tours if you go to Key West.

    • desa999 lm profile image

      desa999 lm 

      6 years ago

      An amazing structure with lots of memories from movies.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 

      6 years ago

      Yes, indeed! My mom lived on Big Pine Key for a lot of years, and I visited for 3 months once upon a time -- working in Boca Chica and Key West. Traveled that bridge many a time ... loved the experience!

    • profile image

      Michelle61 

      6 years ago

      I remember crossing the bridge with my family and just marvelling at the wonder of it all.

    • mjtaylor lm profile image

      mjtaylor lm 

      6 years ago

      I cross it frequently to visit friends in Marathon. It is one of the most spectacular drives in the world. Very nice lens; the history is well done. If you haven't visited Pigeon Key, you are in for a walk back in history.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I would love to cross the bridge and do some sightseeing in the Keys. Looks just beautiful!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Looking forward to driving across this bridge one day! Thanks for the info!!

    • MamaBelle profile image

      Francis Luxford 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wow, that looks amazing. Great lens!

    • profile image

      GrowWear 

      7 years ago

      I love it. We spend many hours fishing from various places on the bridge and snapped many pix of it and its surroundings.

    • bucketofshrimp lm profile image

      bucketofshrimp lm 

      7 years ago

      great lens. makes me want to be there right now.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 

      7 years ago

      Nice lens

    • Charmcrazey profile image

      Wanda Fitzgerald 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      I love Key West and stopping at some of the islands along the way. Great feature article. Blessed.

    • Louis Wery profile image

      Louis Wery 

      7 years ago from Sarasota, Florida USA

      We love driving the Seven Mile Bridge when we visit the Florida Keys. I was glad to see credit given for the sources used to create this fine lens. Blessed.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      To me, the Seven Mile Bridge is the highlight of the Florida Keys. Every time I go there, driving over the bridge is one of the things I look forward to the most. I never knew about the bridge run-- I'll have to see if I can do that one day! Squid Angel blessed, and lensrolled to my Key West lens.

    • joanv334 profile image

      joanv334 

      7 years ago

      Hello, thanks for sharing!

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 

      7 years ago

      Must visit this bridge now!

    • profile image

      poutine 

      7 years ago

      I am terrified when traveling on a bridge.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 

      7 years ago

      What a great aerial shot. Bridges always fascinate me. I've never been to the Florida Keys, but would like to visit someday.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 

      7 years ago

      I have gotten over my childhood fear of bridges, but this would be a major challenge!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 

      7 years ago

      Love bridges and the views they offer! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      If I am not mistaken, wasn't this bridge in a few movies such as "True Lies"? If so this is one of those unforgettable bridges that you must cross at least once, just to say that you did!!

    • profile image

      TerriLorah 

      8 years ago

      We were just there in Feb and will go back! Loved the Keys! It draws you into it's wonder. Great lens!

    • Key-Largo LM profile image

      Key-Largo LM 

      8 years ago

      Been over that bridge quite a few time, Lots of history ! Great lens :)

    • michelleart profile image

      Michelle Collins 

      8 years ago from Florida

      It's scary looking at the other broken bridge when driving isn't it? I was kinda scared! Great lens!

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