Published: Mar 19, 2014 12:56 PM EDT

MARATHON, Fla. (AP) - State and local officials have agreed to begin a program to conserve part of the historic Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys.
    
The Monroe County Commission Wednesday approved a 30-year project to restore and maintain a 2.2-mile segment of the bridge between Marathon and Pigeon Key.
    
The span was built more than a century ago, when Henry Flagler constructed the Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad.
    
In 1938 the bridge was converted for automobiles and in 1982 the Federal government built a new span. "Old 7" was retired and became a fishing pier and walking area, but the harsh marine environment has taken its toll.
    
Total conservation costs are about $77 million, with the Florida Department of Transportation paying 75 percent and the remaining funding coming from Keys governments.

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