Rising rivers could shut down part of Interstate 75 in north Florida, the Florida Highway Patrol says.
Unprecedented flooding of the Santa Fe River has closed both the the US 27 and USA 41/441 bridges in southern Columbia County and may shut down a large portion of Interstate 75 later Wednesday evening, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
The river's high level will, however, force USA 41 and US 27 to stay closed, the department said: "Once these highways are safe, they will be reopened to motorists".
Both north and southbound lanes of the interstate at the State Fe River would be closed.
"The river is expected to crest at historic and unprecedented levels presenting a potential threat to the safety of travel on this bridge", the department said in a statement.
As of Wednesday morning, the river level is safe at 55 feet. Please refer to the Florida Traffic and Commuter Information website to see the latest updates on road closures.
According to the USGS, the Sante Fe River at O'Leno State Park - less than a mile to the west of I-75 - measured at 56.61 feet as of 4:15 p.m. Wednesday. FDOT bridge inspectors are monitoring this structure 24 hours a day to ensure driver safety.
"Travelers should be prepared for significant delays" through Saturday, the FDOT advised.
On U.S. 41, southbound traffic to Gainesville is detouring at County Road 778 while northbound traffic is being detoured at the Winn-Dixie in High Springs.