FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 28, 2014
DEP ANNOUNCES FLORIDA KEYS OVERSEAS HERITAGE TRAIL FISHING BRIDGE CLOSURES
~Public safety is a top priority~
FLORIDA KEYS - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Parks Service, in conjunction with Monroe County, must close four fishing bridges for safety purposes today. The bridges to be closed are the Ohio-Missouri, Ohio-Bahia Honda, Missouri-Little Duck and Lower Sugarloaf, which make up a portion of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.
“We hate to close fishing bridges that are so popular with anglers,” said Department Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr, “The safety of our park and trail visitors, however, has to come first.”
In 2001, a Memorandum of Understanding was put into place between the State and Monroe County to develop and manage the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. The memorandum outlines that the Department is responsible for design, permitting and construction of all trail segments, while the Florida Department of Transportation secures funding through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the County promotes the trail with residents and visitors.
The bridges are part of Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway built around the turn of the century. At more than 100 years old, the bridges are no longer used for transportation purposes, however they are continually evaluated for safety concerns in accordance with the memorandum.
The next closest bridge that remains open for public use is located north on U.S. 1 at MM 40, at the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge.