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Northbound lanes of Suncoast Parkway now open in Hernando

BROOKSVILLE — The Suncoast Parkway is whole again.

The northbound lanes near the parkway's terminus at the Hernando-Citrus border opened about midday Thursday, 10 days after Tropical Storm Debby's floodwaters swamped the toll road.

The flooding in that area had forced officials to close the entire stretch of the parkway between State Road 50 and U.S. 98.

The water finally receded from the northbound lanes on Wednesday. Crews then used a special machine to bounce weights on the road's surface to test for structural damage, said Christa Deason, spokeswoman for Florida's Turnpike Enterprise.

Officials were most concerned about the northbound lanes because floodwaters had reached about 5 feet deep there.

The southbound lanes opened about 8 a.m. Wednesday, in time to accommodate some Fourth of July traffic.

Massive industrial pumps pulled an estimated 100 million gallons of water from an overflowing retention pond to dry the road, Deason said.

Engineers will now determine whether design changes to the road or the adjacent retention ponds are needed to better accommodate a rainfall event like Debby, Deason said.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or tmarrero@tampabay.com.

Northbound lanes of Suncoast Parkway now open in Hernando 07/05/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 5, 2012 9:14pm]

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