Jewfish Creek Bridge

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 Surprise, from Key Largo.

Jewfish Creek Bridge - OldThe previous bridge, built in 1944, was 223′ long and, as many tourists know, 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. This picture of the old bridge, on the left is from an older post card.

The first information about a bridge at this site comes from Florida Times-Union newspaper articles. We learn that progress was being made from an October 29, 1906 Florida Times-Unionnewspaper 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 on 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.

The construction of the new 65-foot-high fixed bridge was begun in the first quarter of 2005. The project was completed in 2009.