Monroe County closes all entrances into Keys

HOMESTEAD, FLA. (WSVN) - Any residents hoping to take a look at the Florida Keys will have to wait a little longer as Monroe County is, for the most part, closed to the public.

U.S.1 into the Keys has been completely shut down and Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies and Florida Highway Patrol troopers are redirecting motorists to the Homestead Speedway where they can wait until the entrances open up. Officials have also closed Card Sound Road.

The reason for the closure is due to severe flooding in the area, along with unsafe roads covered with debris including boats, downed trees, downed power lines, sand and washed out roadway.

The Department of Transportation also has to check every bridge connecting the Keys to ensure they are safe. As of 4 p.m., Monday, FDOT officials said that all bridges on U.S. 1 from the 18-Mile Stretch entering the Keys to MM 16 have been inspected and are safe for travel. They continue to inspect the remaining bridges.

Little information is currently being given as deputies are not even sure of the situation in the Keys themselves. Some deputies don’t know about the conditions of their homes and have not spoken to their neighbors.

“We know this has been a difficult time for everyone and people are anxious to return to their homes,” Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi said in a press release. “We are working as quickly as we can to make our roads and bridges safe and to restore power, water and medical services.”

A few details have been released about the status of Monroe County. A precautionary boil water notice for all of the Keys until further notice has been issued for the county, along with a dusk till dawn curfew.

Emergency responders and medical personnel have been allowed to enter the Keys. The National Guard personnel also entered the Keys with a large amount of equipment and personnel to help with recovery efforts.

County schools have also been closed through at least Friday.

As of Monday morning, all three power companies in the Keys report total power outages for their 34,321 customers. There are 35 trucks and 100 workers en route from Jacksonville to Key West to help restore power to Keys Energy, which services the Lower Keys.

Some estimate it may be days until residents are able to return to Monroe.

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