Returning evacuees beware: I-75 could close near Gainesville

FORT MYERS, Fla. Evacuees headed back to Southwest Florida could encounter a major roadblock.

Rising floodwaters in the Santa Fe River threaten to close Interstate 75 north of Gainesville, the Florida Department of Transportation said.

The river, which runs under an I-75 bridge in northern Alachua County, has risen 15 feet within the past 36 hours due to the heavy rainfall over North Florida from Hurricane Irma.

I-75 would close immediately if the river rises to an unsafe level, FDOT said, though the agency didn’t define what constitutes unsafe.

See a map of potential I-75 detours below:

Santa Fe River flooding already forced the closure of U.S. 27 and U.S. 41 in both directions, and it could also affect State Road 47 and U.S. 121, FDOT said.

See FDOT’s U.S. 27 and U.S. 41 detour map below: