Is There Any Way to Fix Deadly I-75?
A recent media report noted that a Nashville resident and his wife drive from Tennessee to Florida via Georgia several times per year. Mark Quarles stated that he always notices the heavy traffic and high speed as drivers cross from Georgia into Florida. Quarles said that he always sees a lot of speeding near the border and there are many state troopers on the roads in South Georgia. This fact is notable because in early January, several people died on I-75 in a fiery crash, and two others died two days later in another crash. This was the deadliest day in Alachua County since a major pile-up on the interstate killed 11 in January 2012. Vehicle wrecks in 2017 killed more than 50 people in northern Florida in Alachua County, which was the most in 10 years. It also was the first time in more than a decade that there were more deaths in Alachua than in more populous Marion County. After all of the recent accidents on this dangerous highway, the I-75 Relief Task Force spent more than a year looking at the problem. The ultimate recommendation was to make improvements to the highway instead of constructing a new road. A Coastal Connector also was considered after evacuees from Hurricane Irma caused a massive, hours-long traffic jam on I-75. The connector would expand the Suncoast Parkway in western Marion and Alachua counties so they connect with I-10 close to Lake City. Florida officials say there is little doubt that much of I-75 in Florida and Georgia is at maximum capacity. Solving this issue involves reducing the number of people on the road for local travel. Also, segregating truck lanes could help to reduce the number of accidents. More recommendations include better passenger rail and bus service and automatic enforcement of current laws for the road. None of these recommendations require any new roads to be built.