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Rising River Could Close I-75 in Florida, Complicate Evacuees' Return Home

16 September 2017

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, FDOT was focused on the rising river and the structural integrity of the Interstate 75 bridge crossing the Santa Fe River about 30 miles south of Lake City at the Columbia-Alachua County line.

On Thursday, the Santa Fe River is expected to rise to 58 feet at O'Leno State Park and 25.5 feet at Three Rivers Estates, according to Columbia County spokeswoman Paula Vann.

A heads up for anyone traveling south through north Florida; dangerously high water levels on the Santa Fe River has forced the closure of two major highways and threatened to close Interstate 75.

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FDOT engineers and state meteorologists do not believe that the Santa Fe River will reach a level to make the interstate unsafe.

In addition, they should monitor river levels and flood forecasts online or by calling 1-800-604-2272 or 386-362-6626, he added. FDOT bridge inspectors are monitoring this structure 24 hours a day to ensure driver safety.

The flooding would also cause closures and extensive rerouting of traffic on US 27, USA 41, S.R. 47 and possibly US 121 as the routes would be considered impassable. Anyone planning on traveling to central or southern Florida should consider traveling southbound on I-95, the release states.

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In Georgia, southbound I-75 lanes were log-jammed on Tuesday from the Floridians seeking to return, and that returned by midday Wednesday but not as heavy.

A small bridge on I-75 could have a huge impact on Florida evacuees desperately trying to go home.

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Rising River Could Close I-75 in Florida, Complicate Evacuees' Return Home