NORTH PORT — Thousands of motorists were delayed by hours on Wednesday following an early morning, single-vehicle accident in which a dump truck struck the Ponce De Leon Boulevard overpass in the southbound lanes of Interstate 75, causing significant damage to a beam.
Traffic was rerouted down River Road through North Port to Sumter Boulevard, but that detour was again rerouted to Toledo Blade Boulevard after a vehicle caught fire at Sumter and Price boulevards late Wednesday afternoon. I-75 was reopened around 4 p.m., but according to Dave Parks, a Florida Department of Transportation spokesman for the interstate widening project currently under way, the nine-mile section of southbound I-75 that was closed on Wednesday will be shut down again Thursdayfor 12 hours starting at 7 p.m., to continue to work on the damaged beam. The overpass at mile marker 184 is safe to drive under, but not safe to drive on, Parks said. The beam was being wrapped in what Parks described as a “durable fabric diaper” that prevents concrete from falling into the roadway. Tonight’s work will involve removing the beam, Parks said, adding that a new support structure could be in place by this weekend.
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