Multiple Middle Keys capital projects in various stages of progress

Landscaping at the intersection of Coco Plum Drive and U.S. 1 is almost finished.
Landscaping at the intersection of Coco Plum Drive and U.S. 1 is almost finished. Keynoter

Capital projects big and small are going on throughout the city of Marathon, as explained by Public Works Director Carlos Solis at a recent City Council meeting.


As part of a $200,000 project between the Florida Department of Transportation and the city that started in early May, thatch palms are being put in the median at Sombrero Beach Road and U.S. 1. There will also be improvements surrounding the island’s lighthouse-themed entrance signs, one at mile marker 60 on Grassy Key and the other near the Seven Mile Bridge entrance on Knights Key. Landscaping at Coco Plum Drive and U.S. 1 is almost finished, Solis said.

Work on the city’s new Department of Public Works maintenance building is progressing and should be done by October, Solis said. The 10,000-square-foot building, at a cost of $1.9 million, includes offices, locker rooms and bays where utility vehicles can be stored and worked on.

Preliminary work has started on a $3.3 million city and DOT project on the stretch of U.S. 1 from 33rd Street to 37th Street. The three-way traffic light at U.S. 1 and 33rd Street will be made into a four-way intersection with an entrance to Fishermen’s Community Hospital. Currently, the entrance and exit to the hospital are to the east and west of the traffic light.

Solis said there will be some lane closures during the day in the intersection area for drainage work but all major closures for pavement milling and overlay will be at nighttime.

The northbound shoulder from the Seven Mile Bridge to Knights Key Boulevard is going to be expanded 10 feet as part of the project. The roadside guardrail near the bridge exit is being extended to Knights Key Boulevard.


Offices at the Marathon Community Park are set to undergo a renovation and construction plans are almost done, Solis said. There will be additional space for storage, work areas for the staff and counselors and equipment.

At the Marathon Dog Park near mile marker 51 oceanside, an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk from the handicap spaces to the enclosed dog park will be installed in the coming months.

The restrooms at Coco Plum Beach will be replaced in the coming year. Solis said a bid award for the $150,000 contract will probably happen at the June 13 meeting. The restrooms do not currently have running water.

He also said the city is getting permits to renourish a portion of Coco Plum Beach with sand, which will be done before the beginning of next season. In 2011, new sand was put down, which attracts tourists and locals alike. It has eroded since then. The land does not have a coral base like much of the rest of the Keys.

At Sombrero Beach, an enclosure is going to be built around the dumpster and recycling dumpster to screen them from public view at a cost of $16,000. A drain is also going to be installed at the west end of the beach to alleviate flooding issues in the handicap spaces.

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219