Santa Fe River flooding could force I-75 closure

The Santa Fe River is nearing flood stage, and it could create a traffic nightmare.

Folks traveling home from wherever it was that they went to escape the wrath of hurricane Irma, are facing heavy traffic jams on the state roadways. As if that wasn't bad enough, there's one other possible obstacle now.

Officials are keeping a close eye on the Santa Fe River north of Gainesville, concerned that it's dangerously close to the point where they would have to shut down I-75. and you can just imagine what a traffic nightmare that would be.

The Santa Fe River at the Alachua County Columbia County line is at 57 feet right now. At 58 feet, FDOT said they would have to shut the roadway down.

The river actually gained about 15 feet just yesterday. But we saw workers out there today who are taking measurements. They were looking at the height, and also the speed of the water going underneath the bridge.

And, a little bit earlier today, FDOT released a statement saying that at this point anyway, their engineers do not think at the river will get high enough for them to have to shut the interstate down.

That's good news because detouring to US 19 to the west or gaveling to drive over to I-295 through Jacksonville to the East would add several hundred miles and several hours to peoples' trip home.

When one of the workers at the scene was asked if he thought the water level had gone down, he agreed, it looks like it's starting to recede. 

"The only thing that could throw a wrench in it at this point could be an unexpected amount of rain, or a higher than expected accumulation of water coming down river from points north," Randall Petty said.

Look for updates at FL511.com.

 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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