New water main transmission is installed via open-cut trench. FKAA/Contributed

Nearly 4 miles of new water transmission main were laid into the ground in Islamorada over the last eight months. 

Since April, motorists rolling through Islamorada have noticed the orange cones, the shifts in traffic and the deep trenches where workers spent the days and weeks installing new 36-inch steel transmission lines — replacing a worn 30-inch main. With most of the work complete, FKAA says the traffic congestion will lessen some time after March. The project, however, will continue through 2025 with most tasks ahead. 

Crews will work in 1,000-foot sections to install service pipes for the master meters and air relief valves. In addition, workers will begin to place 1,600 feet of transmission main south of Tea Table Crossing and the pipe into the ground across Whale Harbor Crossing via directional drilling.

FKAA’s first water main replacement project was funded with a $35 million grant and $7 million in low-interest loans. 

With the initial pipe replacement project inching its way to completion, FKAA is preparing to install 8,250 feet of 36-inch water main on Windley Key from Whale Harbor to the south end of Snake Creek bridge. Work is scheduled to begin in April as motorists will experience similar rolling lane closures. FKAA said the work will pause for major holidays and events which tend to bring heavy traffic through Islamorada. Bike lanes will remain open, as will access driveways to all businesses. 

The Windley Key project will cost about $15 million.

Crews install new 36-inch water transmission main into the ground. FKAA/Contributed
Jim McCarthy is one of the many Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 4-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, hockey, mixed martial arts and golf. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.