Overseas Highway

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Anyone who has ever driven to or from Key West has crossed the Cow Key Bridge. It's the only road on or off of the island.

Now the state says the bridge's decks and beams need to be replaced on the two spans (one outgoing, one incoming) that connect Key West with the rest of the world.

Bob Care / Florida Keys News Bureau

The annual Poker Run that sees an estimated 10,000 motorcycles travel down the Keys is officially off.

"There will be NO Poker Game or official stops," according to an announcement on the event's web page, hosted by organizer Peterson's Harley-Davidson. "Sorry for all the confusion, we have not been able to get the support of local Charities and Volunteers this year."

But it appears that the event is not permanently gone.

Donald Catala / Monroe County Sheriff's Office

The Overseas Highway  — the only route through the Florida Keys — was closed for hours Friday morning by a fatal accident.

The crash happened at about 9 a.m. at mile marker 16 in the Lower Keys. According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, there were severe injuries and one person was killed. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating.

Just before noon, the Sheriff's Office notified the public that the road was back open, but traffic was stalled approximately 10 miles in both directions. The Overseas Highway has been clogged with traffic all week.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  The old Seven Mile Bridge hasn't carried car traffic since 1982.

But the span from Knight's Key to Pigeon Key has become a kind of linear park for the Middle Keys, offering spectacular sunset views.

  "We're fortunate to be able to have the bridge that we can walk out on," said Leslie Christensen of Marathon. "It think it attracts a lot of tourists and a lot of people like to come and take pictures. It's a real iconic part of Marathon."

Tracy Ziegler

The Ragnar Relay will not return to the Overseas Highway in February.

This week, Monroe County commissioners rejected a permit request for the third time. Ragnar has now officially canceled the race.

Ragnar teams of up to 11 runners travel in vans, taking turns on the road. County officials said the frequent transfers caused too many traffic tie-ups along the only route along the Keys — especially during the height of tourist season.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

  It's been 80 years since you could travel the Florida Keys by rail. But Monroe County wants to look into bringing it back, as a monorail or light rail system.

The Monroe County Commission Tuesday approved a resolution asking the state Department of Transportation to to conduct a feasibility study on the project.

Tracy Ziegler

  Every year, the Ragnar Relay brings 500 teams of runners to the Keys. Each team has eight to 10 members; they run three to five miles, then ride in a van while their teammates are on the road.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

  In 24 years living and working in the Keys, I've had a bunch of different jobs. My longest commute was less than five miles. I felt pretty sorry for myself — because I had to get in the car every day.

Most of the time, my primary transportation has been my bike. That's not without some drawbacks. In summer, you have to prepare for downpours. And you can get sweaty just riding a mile across the island.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

Monroe Sheriff Rick Ramsay is protesting a year-old crosswalk on the Overseas Highway in Key Largo after a three-car pileup at the site last week.

Ramsay said the first he or any of his officers heard about the crosswalk was when it was installed a year ago by the state Department of Transportation.

"We were not advised, not informed, not asked. Our input wasn't taken by FDOT in any manner or form," Ramsay said. "We were surprised like everyone else when it showed up one day, just popped up. It was just a total surprise."