A second water main break witnessed in the Upper Keys for the second-straight day forced closures of several schools and various municipal buildings Thursday.
Just as Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority crews were finishing repairs of a water main break at MM 84 near Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina on Wednesday evening, another major leak was reported roughly eight miles north at MM 92 in Tavernier. As a result, crews were sent to the Tavernier water leak that Greg Veliz, FKAA executive director, said was much worse than the break in Islamorada. The break was reported around 11 p.m. on Wednesday.
Repairs were successfully made just after noon on Thursday. FKAA said water pressure will be restored in two to three hours. Northbound traffic at MM 92 is still being diverted onto a southbound lane to allow for the road repairs.
“I’ve got guys right now working 28-29 hours without sleep. And this isn’t sitting under the tree, this is 29 (hours) in the hole,” Veliz told the Keys Weekly on Thursday.
Northbound traffic at MM 92 was being diverted onto a southbound lane to allow for the repairs. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office reported heavy congestion southbound on U.S. 1 during the morning and urged motorists to avoid the area. Veliz extended his gratitude to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for assisting with traffic and helping to deliver needed parts to the scene of the break in Tavernier.
Both breaks are causing low water pressure to no water for homes, businesses and government buildings from Tavernier to Marathon.
Due to the pipe breaks, the Monroe County School District announced the closures of Stanley Switlik and Plantation Key schools, which were experiencing low water pressure. Students who came to school were transported home or picked up by their parents. Coral Shores and Marathon high schools are also closed today. Staff at the four schools were released around 9 a.m.
Superintendent Theresa Axford said updates regarding tomorrow’s school schedule will be provided later today.
The village of Islamorada announced the closure of the administrative building on Thursday. Plantation Key Courthouse and Marathon Courthouse are temporarily closed, according to Kristen Livengood, public information officer. All in-person court scheduled for today will be re-noticed.
The Monroe County Tax Collector’s offices on Plantation Key and in Marathon are closed today. The tax collector’s Big Pine Key office, located in the Winn Dixie shopping plaza, has been extended until 4:45 p.m.
The Monroe County Public Library in Marathon is closed, but all other county libraries and facilities are open.
Some Islamorada restaurants have delayed opening due to the leak. There are no boil water notices in effect, but some businesses are receiving precautionary boil water notices if the pressure drops below 20 psi.
— This story will be updated as more information becomes available.