State officials have reopened Interstate 75 after it was closed late Friday because of flooding in Sarasota County.
Florida Department of Transportation officials announced just after 4 p.m. that water levels had receded sufficiently to reopen south and north bound lanes.
Rising waters in the Myakka River beneath I-75 had prompted officials to close a 14-mile stretch of the roadway between mile marker 179 at Toledo Blade Boulevard in North Port to mile marker 193 at Jacaranda Boulevard in Englewood. It led to traffic coming to a standstill as drivers sought alternate routes into and out of southwest Florida.
State officials said that waters from the flooded river did not crest the interstate but were sufficiently close to warrant its closure. Photos purporting to show the interstate underwater that were spread widely on social media were not of I-75 but of U.S. Hwy. 17 in Hardee County, said FDOT spokesperson Michael Williams.
“The water never crested the road,” he said. “It was all precautionary.”
Detours were set up at State Road 60 and U.S. 98, and northbound onto U.S. 27 and U.S. 98.
Williams said the department will continue to monitor water levels in the area and did not rule out further closures.
“We will continue to keep an eye on that as long as the water poses any kind of threat,” he said.
The stoppage was one of several road closures caused by Hurricane Ian and its aftermath.
Flooding also stopped traffic on State Road 776 in Englewood, State Road 70 at the Peace River in DeSoto County, State Road 64 at the Peace River Bridge in Hardee County, and at U.S. 98 at U.S. 17 in Polk County, among other spots.
Bridge damages closed traffic into Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach and Pine Island in Lee County.
• • •
Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Ian coverage
FEMA: Floridians hurt by Ian can now apply for FEMA assistance. Here’s how.
THE STORM HAS PASSED: Now what? Safety tips for returning home.
POST-STORM QUESTIONS: After Hurricane Ian, how to get help with fallen trees, food, damaged shelter.
WEATHER EFFECTS: Hurricane Ian was supposed to slam Tampa Bay head on. What happened?
WHAT TO DO IF HURRICANE DAMAGES YOUR HOME: Stay calm, then call your insurance company.
MORE STORM COVERAGE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.