I-75 section crossing Paynes Prairie will get guardrails this year

Published: Jan. 23, 2020 at 5:33 PM EST
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Construction starts on the section of I-75 crossing Paynes Prairie next week.

We'll tell you how the construction is designed to keep vehicles on the road and out of the water.

It's been a topic of conversation for years and it's finally coming to fruition, FDOT crews will start putting up guard rails along both sides of Paynes Prairie on I-75.

The guardrails going up should not affect your daily commute unless you leave really early or really late says FDOT spokesperson Troy Roberts. "Motorists traveling the roadway are only going to see lane closures after 9 pm on the weekdays and lane closures should be picked up by 6 am the next morning. So if you're traveling during the day you won't have any issues."

After the I-75 section of Paynes Prairie is completed this summer, US 441 is next.

Roberts said, "Next year we are looking at adding a guard rail to 441. That's actually going to be part of a bigger project a re-surfacing project from Williston down to Micanopy. Guardrails will be part of that and we expect that to be started early next year."

One group who is excited about the guard rails is the Alachua County Sheriff's Office dive team. They have had to rescue multiple vehicles out of the water in the past few years.

ACSO spokesperson Art Forgey said, "you have those floating islands so it's a very dangerous dive for them plus all of natures critters that are out there. They are very ecstatic to see those guardrails going in so that we can prevent cars from entering the water."

The idea is to increase safety but Roberts agreed there is still the possibility a bad crash could result in a vehicle getting submerged. "Obviously there are some things it's not going to stop. If you hit a guardrail head-on at 70 miles per hour it's not designed to withstand that kind of force it's more for a glancing blow."

The I-75 project will cost taxpayers 1.1 million dollars and there will be no construction during the weekends at any time.


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