Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Southbound Interstate 75 at Exit 301 Alert!

As you probably know by now, a serious accident has occurred today (Tuesday, 9 December 2008) on Interstate 75 at Exit 301, which is also known as FL 50 and US 98 near Brooksville. A dump truck traveling eastbound on FL 50 hit a few of the concrete girders that carry southbound Interstate 75 over FL 50 causing severe damage. The damage is almost similar to an accident that happened in June 2008 over at Interstate 75’s Exit 224, US 301, but on a smaller scale.

According to a
Bay News 9 article and the pictures it appears that the girders carrying the right southbound lane will need replacement. Moreover, traffic on FL 50is reduced to two-way traffic as crews begin the process of cleaning up the damage and eventually replacement of the damaged concrete beams. The overpasses were constructed around 1964 when one of the many segments of the original Interstate 75 was opened in north and central Florida.

Until the concrete beams are replaced, it is going to mean lane closures and major inconveniences both for southbound Interstate 75 and FL 50 in both directions. Depending on the extent of the damage, the repairs may result from replacement of the damaged beams in question to replacement of the segment of overpass; that is up to the Florida DOT.

Northbound Interstate 75 crossing FL 50. This 2006 photo illustrates what the overpass looks like.

As with any construction or repair project, this is going to mean inconveniences such as barricades, long waits in traffic and heavy Florida Highway Patrol and Hernando County Sheriff’s Office presence. Here is what to expect if your travels take you in the vicinity of Interstate 75 at Exit 301 in the next few weeks as crews work feverishly to get the overpass repaired:


All exit and entrance ramps are open; however, expect delays especially if you are entering or exiting on Interstate 75 southbound.

Northbound Interstate 75 is not affected. Be aware of reduced speeds that may be in place.

Southbound Interstate 75 is affected. The right lane of the overpass as it crosses FL 50 will be closed for some time as crews will have to take out the damaged beams and replace them with new beams to match the rest of the beams on the overpass, which was constructed around 1964. If you are headed on southbound Interstate 75 expect to move over to the left lane just before you get to Exit 301. Also be aware of reduced speeds that may be posted in the area.

Should the Florida DOT decide on complete replacement of the segment of southbound Interstate 75 overpass crossing the eastbound lanes of FL 50 it will mean temporary reconfiguration of Interstate 75 similar to that over at Exit 224 earlier this year.

FL 50/US 98:

Both directions of FL 50 are open. However, traffic will be narrowed to two lanes utilizing the westbound lanes of FL 50 as you go under Interstate 75.

Hopefully the repairs should take a few weeks to complete, depending on the extent of the damage to the overpass. If you make this section of Interstate 75 at Exit 301a part of your daily travels I would like to hear from you. Please drive safely when going through this area and be safe.

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