Overseas Highway

Overseas Highway

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Overseas Highway

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The Overseas Highway is a highway carrying U.S. Route 1 through the Florida Keys. Large parts of it were built on the former right-of-way of the Overseas Railroad, the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway. Completed in 1912, the Overseas Railroad was heavily damaged and partially destroyed in the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. The Florida East Coast Railway was financially unable to rebuild the destroyed sections, so the roadbed and remaining bridges were sold to the State of Florida for $640,000.

The original construction of the Overseas Highway used many of the bridges of the former railroad, including truss bridges, where the roadway was built on top of the trusses. Most of these older bridges built for railroads have been replaced by more modern bridges that are able to accommodate more than two lanes of traffic. The highway included the Seven Mile Bridge, the Bahia Honda Bridge and the Long Key Bridge (although these three original bridges are no longer open to vehicular traffic, except for part of Seven Mile Bridge, they are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are currently used as fishing piers).

From its opening on March 29, 1938, until the destruction by fire of the Card Sound Bridge in 1944, the Overseas Highway also had the signed designation State Road 4A; after the realignment in 1945 to its current entry onto Key Largo along the old railroad right-of-way (the new segment of Overseas Highway, from Florida......
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