As Irma Evacuees Return, Stretch of I-75 Could Close

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Officials said that as of 12:40 p.m. Wednesday, I-75 remained safe and passable.

Both north and southbound lanes of the interstate at the State Fe River would be closed. The river had risen about 15 feet in 36 hours following Hurricane Irma, threatening to close the busy road.

An official from the USGS told the Times/Herald it was informed by the FDOT the interstate would have to be closed at a river level of 58 feet. If the river rises to a unsafe level and covers the road I-75 will require full closure of I-75 south of I-10 and north of U.S. Highway 441 in Alachua.

McKinley Lewis, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott, said FDOT bridge inspectors and the U.S. Geological Survey were monitoring river levels at the bridge around the clock.

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The state departments are working with Google Maps, the Georgia Department of Transportation and other parts of the transportation industry to communicate with motorists about potential reroutes, such as advising motorists traveling south into Florida to take Interstate 10 east to Interstate 95 in Jacksonville.

All road closures and travel tours will be posted on FL511.com.

The small bridge is located on the northern border of Alachua County and spans the Santa Fe River.

Other bridges that could be affected include US 41, State Road 47 and USA 121, according to a release from FHP. Florida DOT officials will plan to reroute traffic to USA 19, US 301 and I-95.

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