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Plan ahead for boat ramp access, traffic delays over holiday weekend in the Keys

Concrete barriers partially block access to a boat ramp in the Florida Keys
Village of Islamorada
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The Blackwood Drive boat ramp in Islamorada is among those that will be blocked over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

If you're planning to use a boat ramp in the Florida Keys to get out on the water this weekend, planning ahead is a good idea.

In Islamorada, the boat ramps at East Ridge Road and Blackwood Drive will be closed to boat launching from 8 a.m. Saturday, July 2, through 8 a.m. Tuesday, July 5. Kayaks and paddleboards will still be able to launch.

The boat ramp at the Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina at Founders Park in Islamorada will be open from 8 to 6 p.m. throughout the holiday weekend. Non-resident fees are $20 each way, so $40 round trip. When the trailer parking lot is full, restrictions will apply.

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Monroe County-owned boat ramps will be open and operate under their usual rules for weekends and holidays. Boat ramp information for unincorporated Monroe County, including Key Largo, can be found here. Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies will be at Harry Harris Park and Mike Forster Memorial Park in Key Largo to assist with traffic or any other issues. Harris Harris Park has a ramp fee for non-residents. Parking is extremely limited at the boat ramps. Boaters can watch social media for boat ramp full notices.

There are no special holiday rules for boat ramps in the city of Marathon, though the Harbor Drive ramp has no parking and is limited to trailers with two or fewer axles.

Traffic is also expected to be heavy throughout the holiday weekend, with a slowdown on Monday morning while Key Largo holds its annual Fourth of July parade.

Northbound traffic will be temporarily closed at Mile Marker 99 from 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., and all traffic will be diverted into the southbound lanes. The parade starts at 10 a.m. and will last about two hours.

Traffic is expected to return to normal by 1 p.m. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office recommends avoiding travel through the area between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and, if you must, to plan for extra travel time.

Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami Herald, Solares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.