Card Sound toll conversion begins in August

Card Sound Road leads in and out of the Florida Keys.
Card Sound Road leads in and out of the Florida Keys. Keynoter

A $2 million project to convert the Card Sound Road toll booths in North Key Largo into an automated system could break ground Aug. 1.

The Monroe County Commission on Wednesday approved a $1.79 million construction contract, along with an $263,700 engineering contract.

County Engineer Judith Clarke said the time line calls for the existing toll booths to be demolished beginning Aug. 1, one day after the last day of work for booth staff with the Card Sound Toll Authority. No tolls will be collected during reconstruction, until the system becomes active Feb. 8, 2018, she said.

“It is a very aggressive time frame but we need to get it done,” Clarke said Tuesday.

As planned, the All Electronic Tolling system will collect tolls through the state’s Sunpass transponder system or in a toll-by-plate system.

Money collected at Card Sound goes toward maintenance of the aging 65-foot-high bridge and adjacent roads. Tolls have been $1 per vehicle for decades but the electronic tolling could make price increases easier to implement.

In another Upper Keys project, the county will consider a $146,944 contract for design work on the county-owned Rowell’s Waterfront Park, on Florida Bay near mile marker 104.5.

Tentative plans call for restrooms, parking, picnic areas and a link to the Overseas Heritage Trail. The state Department of Transportation and the county’s Tourist Development Council help underwrite the plan. Most of the property will remain open for use by community events.

Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206