Northbound traffic is diverted to a southbound lane following a road closure for a water main break at MM 92 in Tavernier early Thursday morning. JIM McCARTHY/Keys Weekly

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.

A new 30-inch pipe is placed following a water main break at MM 92 in Tavernier late Wednesday night. FKAA/Via Facebook

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. 

Water main transmission that bursted Wednesday evening. FKAA/Via Facebook

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.

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.