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Keys Treasures Home | Keys Bridges

Florida Keys Jewfish Creek Bridge

The first bridge most visitors notice when driving to the Florida Keys is the Jewfish Creek Bridge at MM 107. This is at the Southeastern end of the 18 mile stretch and is a short distance, across Lake Suprise, from Key Largo.

The current bridge, built in 1944, is 223' long and as many tourists know is a drawbridge. When the Jewfish Creek bridge is raised on a sunny weekend afternoon traffic on both sides of U.S. 1 can back up for miles. The picture on the right is from an older post card.

The first information about a bridge at this location comes from Florida Times-Union newspaper articles. We learn that progress was being made from an October 29, 1906 Florida Times-Union newspaper clipping: "Some weeks ago engine No. 10, intended for use in construction work on the Keys, arrived from St. Augustine. This morning the same engine and several box and flat cars were sent down the line to Homestead, then south 17 miles on newly constructed track to the coast of Jewfish Creek. At that place they were loaded onto barges and ferried across the stream [Jewfish Creek and Lake Surprise] to Key Largo." Evidently, the bridge was not completed in October 1906. An article dated February 10, 1907 stated: "The first train crossed from the mainland to Key Largo (last Friday) with Henry Flagler and a party of friends aboard." It appears that the Jewfish Bridge and the Lake Surprise causeway were finally operable.

This picture is actually an artist's rendering showing the new 65-foot-high fixed bridge that will span Jewfish Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway. The existing Jewfish Creek Bridge will remain operational until the new bridge is complete and open to traffic, and access will be provided to businesses. The construction began in the first quarter of 2005. The project is estimated for completion in early 2009.

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