KEY WEST (CBSmiami/FKNB) – The next time you visit Key West, you’ll probably notice how nice a drive it is once you hit the island.

That’s because a crews have finally wrapped a $41.5 million reconstruction and enhancement of North Roosevelt Boulevard, which is the primary route for drivers arriving and departing the city.

The construction project was launched in April 2012. It incorporated almost three miles of the boulevard from the U.S. Highway 1 triangle at the island’s entrance to Eisenhower Drive at the start of Truman Avenue and the city’s historic district.

The majority of the newly completed roadway, which required 59,000 tons of asphalt, features five traffic lanes: two each for northbound and southbound travel and one center turn lane.

“This project, an improved and impressive gateway to the city of Key West, creates the framework for the city to continue to be successful,” said FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad prior to the ribbon cutting.

Elements of the comprehensive project included rebuilding, repaving and re-striping the roadway; installing crosswalks, 69 new street lights and ADA-compliant sidewalks; replacing existing traffic signals with hurricane-resistant signals and putting in a new one in a high-traffic area; adding extensive landscaping including 157 mature coconut palms, and rebuilding and expanding the seawall and promenade along the waterfront for pedestrians and bicyclists.

In addition, sewer and water lines and drainage pipes were replaced with more than 11 miles of underground pipes. The stormwater system was completely reconstructed, and 134 underground drainage structures were installed, to reduce or eliminate ponding and provide water quality treatment so that only filtered runoff can enter nearshore waters and the region’s marine ecosystem.

“This is the biggest project I’ve seen in my whole life in Key West,” said Craig Cates, the island city’s mayor. “The completion day has finally come and it’s a great day to celebrate.”

The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.


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