The Florida DOT is working feverishly to get this overpass fixed and back into service as soon as possible. In a previous blog entry the Florida DOT will be constructing crossovers that will enable southbound Interstate 75 traffic to use the northbound lanes until the repairs are done. According to news reports I found out this morning (9 June 2008) that the crossovers have been opened, which will save through traffic from having to make the long detour through Bradenton.
Until the Interstate 75 southbound overpass is repaired expect lots of delays as you pass through the construction zone as well as plenty of barricades, construction workers and increased Florida Highway Patrol presence. In the meantime, please let me offer some safety tips for passing through this work zone, as well as any other construction work zone elsewhere including Interstate 275:
1. Observe the posted reduced speed limits! The Florida Highway Patrol is enforcing the reduced speed limits and any speeding through the work zone can result in a traffic citation carrying a double fine, which can be much more than your auto loan payment. After all, this is a work zone on Interstate 75 and not Open Wheel Modified at DeSoto Super Speedway!
2. Give driving your 100 percent attention through the work zone. That much needed cell phone call can wait until you arrive at your destination.
3. Plan ahead and leave earlier than usual to reach your intended destination in plenty of time.
4. Don't tailgate other motorists while going through the work zone. After all, the lanes are narrower than what you are used to and you need to leave extra room in front of you in case of the unexpected.
Another note I would like to pass on is for those who are entering Interstate 75 south from US 301 at Exit 224. That ramp is closed due to the overpass work. Instead, use Interstate 75 north to Exit 229, which is the Parrish exit located just north of Interstate 275's southern terminus at Exit 228; once there you can turn around at the interchange and proceed south on Interstate 75.
I would like to give a hats off to the Florida DOT for getting these crossovers on Interstate 75 at Exit 224 constructed as quickly as practical, especially for the Monday morning commute. I know, we all had to endure the long detour through Bradenton for the past few days but the wait was worth it.
For those of you that have passed through this work zone on Interstate 75 I would like to hear from you!