Portion of No Name Key Bridge closed

By Steve Estes

During an annual inspection of the No Name Key Bridge last Friday, inspectors found what they termed a “serious condition” that led to the closing of a portion of the northbound lane.

According to County Engineer Judy Clarke, the inspectors discovered missing concrete that had exposed metal underneath on the underside of pier 25, just over halfway across the span.

No Name Key Bridge is the only land access for 43 homeowners on the island, as well as for emergency and safety vehicles.

That bridge has come under scrutiny in past annual inspections for its deteriorating condition, so much so that the state Department of Transportation rated it the third worst bridge in Monroe County.

As a result of that ranking, FDOT has allocated just over $4 million in funding to repair the bridge. According to Clarke, the county is currently negotiating with the winning bidder for the planning, design and engineering portion of that repair project.

State funds are programmed in the 2013 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2012, for the renovation of the concrete bridge.

The bridge that stands today across Bogie Channel from Big Pine to No Name was completed in 1967 and has had no significant structural work performed since.

With the discovery of the missing concrete, Clarke said county road crews barricaded the portion of the bridge affected by pier 25. It will remain closed until temporary repairs can be accomplished.

“We hope to be able to have the PD&E contractor for the renovation project design and engineer a temporary repair project for that small part of the bridge,” said Clarke. “When we have that, we’ll be able to do a temporary fix ahead of the major project next year.”

She said that repair would be done “as quickly as possible” but couldn’t estimate yet when that might be.

Pablo Orozco, leader for the inspection team, told county staff last Friday evening “We have an emergency on this bridge. We are concerned about it and recommend to restrict traffic on the bridge by allowing (motorists) to use only a middle lane at the affected area.”

By Saturday morning, county crews had barricaded the area.

Clarke said that the defect discovered last week does not affect the structural integrity of the span, which carries motorists and bicyclists on a regular basis. It also carries gravel trucks on occasion from a working rock quarry and has to carry Waste Management trucks for refuse and recycling pick ups.

“The condition does not call for a weight reduction on the bridge,” said Clarke.

She added that concrete spalling is considered structural in nature, but this doesn’t rise to the level of being dangerous for motorists.

As part of the state’s planned renovation project, the deck of the bridge will be milled and resurfaced. Concrete spalling, including rebar rehabilitation, will be repaired both above and below the travel deck. Guardrails will also be replaced and modernized as part of the project.

With no set timetable for the emergency repairs, officials aren’t certain if the partial lane closure will affect events slated to be held on the bridge next year, including the annual No Name Key Bridge run/walk to benefit the Domestic Abuse Shelter usually held in February and the annual Old Wooden Bridge Kid’s Fishing Tournament slated to be held in March.

The current concrete span was a replacement for the old wooden bridge that served No Name Key from about 1928 until it was destroyed by fire in 1948. That bridge moved motorists from the ferry landing at the end of the island to Big Pine where motorists joined the newly developed Overseas Highway to traverse the Keys.

1 Comment »

One Response to “Portion of No Name Key Bridge closed”


  1. Tom Jones May 10 2018 / 5am

    I worked on the construction of that bridge. Only thing wrong with the article at the end, it states bridge was built in 1967 or completed on that date. I only came back to Florida in 1969 and started working on the No Name Key Bridge after a year or 2 of being back home. Little Torch,Key.

    Tom Jones

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