Florida Governor Rick Scott said in Middleburg Wednesday that there is a chance Interstate-75 could be shut down in Alachua County if the Santa Fe River keeps rapidly rising.
It’s risen 15 feet within the last day-and-a-half since Hurricane Irma blew through the area, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
“We’re not going to allow people to be on roads that are unsafe,” Scott told our partner, News4Jax.
Scott said a geological survey is being done Wednesday, and it should be known within 30 hours whether the river is cresting too high and the interstate needs to be closed in both directions.
“It’s going to be a pretty big detour,” the governor said. “It’ll be hard, so everybody that’s coming back to the state that travels I-75 in that area of the state (will have to) follow that.”
He said in the meantime, he’s making sure utility crews can get to South Florida before a potential closure. Just over a third of the state remained without power as of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
While the assessment is completed, the FDOT is asking drivers to avoid I-75 in both directions north of Gainesville.
Wednesday afternoon U.S. 27 near the area of the Santa Fe River was closed due to flooding.
FDOT said Floridians should consult www.FL511.com for up-to-date information on road closures and travel routes. It’s posted one detour around the Sante Fe River Bridge, but said U.S. 41, S.R. 47 and possibly U.S. 121 bridges may also be affected.