First built in 1937, Pigeon Key’s wooden bridge has had a long life. “It’s certainly seen a lot of stuff come and go,” said Kelly McKinnon, xxx. “It’s certainly one of my favorite elements of the island.”

Currently there’s a crane on the tiny island in the middle of the 7 Mile Bridge. The crew from Empire Builders has started work by building a staircase and putting up construction fencing. McKinnon said the old timbers should start coming off this week. 

The rehabilitation is epected to cost $1.9 million and take up to nine months to complete. 

“It’s going to look exactly the way it does now, with the exception of an additional rail system inside the existing rail system for safety purposes,” McKinnon said.

The project is part of the larger scope of restoring a portion of the Old Seven Mile Bridge, made possible with the support of the state Department of Transportation, Monroe County, Tourism Development Council and the City of Marathon. When complete, the bridge will be able to support a large vehicle, such as fire trucks and ambulances.

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Sara Matthis thinks community journalism is important, but not serious; likes weird and wonderful children (she has two); and occasionally tortures herself with sprint-distance triathlons, but only if she has a good chance of beating her sister.