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55 feet high and rising? I-75 bridge could be in trouble

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Rain from Hurricane Irma has engorged the Santa Fe River, imperiling an Interstate 75 bridge that traverses the waterway, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) said.

The bridge is at mile marker 408 on the northern edge of Alachua County.

The river “is expected to crest at historic and unprecedented levels, presenting a potential threat to the safety of travel on this bridge,” the department warned in a press release.

The river level was last reported at 55 feet, below the danger zone. “However, if the river were to rise to an unsafe level, the bridge would become impassable both northbound and southbound, and would be closed immediately.”

In that case, traffic would be diverted to U.S. 19, U.S. 301 and Interstate 95. “Any Floridian planning on traveling to Central or Southern Florida should consider traveling southbound on I-95,” the release said.

As always, use www.FL511.com to get up-to-date information on this and other road closures.

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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