For the latest updates on this closure from Saturday, go here.
Aaliyah Alvarado, 16, was headed to Orlando from her hurricane ravaged home in North Fort Myers when all traffic on northbound Interstate 75 came to a halt.
Authorities stopped all traffic around mile marker 182 Friday night. The Florida Department of Transportation said the Myakka River under I-75 had risen and affected the interstate, no longer making it safely passable for motorists. The highway was closed in both directions from Jacaranda Boulevard to the north near Venice to Toledo Blade Boulevard.
Alvarado said her house in North Fort Myers was flooded with eight feet of water from Hurricane Ian. She said the 10 members of her family fled to Naples, and they have been trying to make the best of the situation. So they decided to go to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios in Orlando on Friday night, only to get stuck on I-75 in Sarasota County.
”The thing that matters is we’re all alive. We’re all safe,” said Alvarado. “Everything is gone.”
Along the road, stranded drivers made calls. Some were out of gas. Some were an exit or two from home.
This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.