Traffic crawls at MM 84.5 on Windley Key following a water main break on the southbound lane of U.S. 1 in Islamorada in March. JIM McCARTHY/Keys Weekly

A water main break on U.S. 1 at MM 84.5 on Windley Key is expected to slow traffic through Islamorada for the day as the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority conducts repair work. 

FKAA was alerted to the break near Postcard Inn Resort & Marina during the early morning hours on Wednesday. Crews began tearing up the southbound lane to get to the pipe break. A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office alert went out around 7 a.m. notifying motorists of the break and expected backups.  

According to Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay, northbound traffic is being diverted to the Old Highway since southbound vehicles are using the northbound lane. 

“You should be careful coming through this area,” Ramsay said during a video shared to Facebook. “Watch for cones, flagmen and deputies. Just go slow and look out for workers.”

Southbound traffic shifts to the northbound lane near MM 84.5 in Islamorada in order for FKAA crews to repair a broken water main. JIM McCARTHY/Keys Weekly

Greg Veliz, new executive director with FKAA, said the repair work is expected to take roughly 12 hours. 

“The guys will be out in the sun all day to change a 30-inch pipe and probably rebuild two lanes of road,” Veliz told the Keys Weekly. “The water pushed up the asphalt in the southbound and turn lanes. We’re on it and it will be a pretty easy dig; there’s just a lot of water in the hole because of the tide.”

No boil orders are in place, and Veliz said the break affected only one customer. 

FKAA is beginning work on a 4-mile, $42-million water main replacement project from Tea Table Key at MM 79 to Whale Harbor at MM 84. According to Veliz, the pipe that broke is just outside the scope of that major project. 

Motorists should expect delays driving through Islamorada to their destinations. 

— This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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.