Stretch should have been 4 lanes
As 60-year residents of South Florida and Upper Keys part-timers, we were excited when the drawbridge at Jewfish Creek was to be replaced. This took a minimum of 30 minutes off the drive from the mainland. We were astonished at the resistance to making the 18-Mile Stretch a four-lane road. Opponents scared us with the thought that it would bring more visitors to the island chain.
We now see the foley of their thinking as we see snarled traffic caused by the passing lane merge. Further, the two lanes place limits on the evacuation process in the event of a storm. The environmentalists that argued for two lanes should be horrified at the number of vehicles belching out exhaust as they travel at 2 mph as they merge from the passing lanes on weekends. Their good intentions have proven to be a negative effect on the environment, and this route has added an additional 30 minutes to the drive on weekends and holiday periods.
Regardless of your opinion regarding visitors to paradise, they will continue to come and we cannot be selfish in thinking we own it and make it harder for visitors. With the amount of boat trailers, commercial trucking and tourists, the stretch should have been a four-lane road as originally designed by traffic engineers. Decision makers should not have succumbed to the pressures of well-intended residents thinking that two lanes would limit the visitors.
Tony Bello, Key Largo/Coral Gables