Feb 08, 2018

Key Largo, Fla., Plans Post-Irma Road Elevation

The proposed project includes elevating roads and treating storm water runoff

Florida Keys to elevate roads for flood control

In response to Hurricane Irma flooding in Key Largo, Fla., Monroe County has proposed elevating roads in the lowest, most flood-prone areas. Beyond elevating the roads, the county wants the project to include collecting and treating storm water runoff. The county is accepting design proposals and plans to obtain funding for the project by October, 2018.

The initial project will only be in two small areas, Twin Lakes Community and the Sands neighborhood of Big Pine Key, according to the Miami Herald. However, the county is considering this a test case and hopes to expand the practice of elevating roads and treating storm water runoff to the rest of the Keys–if the project is successful. One key obstacle for Key Largo to flood management is the lack of drainage solutions.

“In the Keys we don’t have drainage infrastructure,” said Rhonda Haag, Monroe County’s sustainability program manager. “Basically it’s blacktop on the road.”

Naturally drainage solutions are difficult in the Keys because directly underneath the dirt is porous limestone that accumulates groundwater and this project marks the first of its kind in the community. Early estimates place the cost as high as $1 million for Key Largo and more than $2.5 million in Big Pine.