FDOT to discuss plans for Indian Key fill

Florida Department of Transportation representatives are coming to Islamorada next week to update residents on work the agency has planned for the Lower and Upper Matecumbe keys.

The planned $1.2 million project includes work that will likely limit parking on Indian Key fill at mile marker 79. The spot is popular with weekenders from the mainland, which, depending on who you ask, is either a good thing for the local economy or a drain on law enforcement resources and a source of litter and traffic congestion.

Councilman Mike Forster is urging his constituents to attend the Thursday, Dec. 8, meeting, scheduled for 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Founders Park, mile marker 87. Forster said he wants to make sure FDOT maintains enough parking space so the public can continue to use the area for recreation.

“I want it to be inclusive, not exclusive. I want it to reach the true carrying capacity,” Forster said in an email this week. “If it's 30 parking spaces or 50. Just needs to be open to the public to enjoy, and to maintain one of the most beautiful vistas in Monroe County.”

According to an FDOT notification, the project’s scope is from mile marker 77.4 to mile marker 81.4. The agency plans to plant native “trees and palms to improve the aesthetic of the roadway.”

FDOT proposes to add a landscape buffer along the highway and remove and replace diseased and damaged trees and install wooden barriers “to protect existing vegetation.”

The agency plans to begin the project in November 2018. The work will be done in phases, and it will require temporary lane closures “during non-peak hours.”