Call 511 for Florida Roads Information
It truely was a dark and stormy night. And day. While Tropical Storm Debby was hovering over Florida, causing local flooding, driving to Tallahassee was a challenge. Which roads to take – to avoid standing water or flooding? And, what alternate routes might be available?
I-75 to Lake City wasn’t too bad. And, on Monday, turning west on US 90 also was fair. Some standing water in a few yards and pastures on either side of the road, but the road was completely visible. The benefit of taking US 90 was a substantial lack of traffic westbound, which made driving that much safer.
Then on Tuesday morning, in Tallahassee, the Governor and Cabinet talked about parts of US 301, I-10, and parts of US 90 especially around Live Oak were closed because of flooding. US 90?
In Live Oak? That road through that town was fine the previous afternoon, but water was waist deep the next day. Oh wow! So, how to get south early Tuesday afternoon? US 27A/US 19 was not flooded all the way to Chiefland, through Bronson, and through Williston, into Ocala. But then there were radio warnings about the height of the Suwannee River – which is just feet from the road in Fanning Springs.
At the Cabinet meeting I suggested that the State promulgate not only “closed road” information, but also “alternate routes” – and the next day on-line discovered 511. If you are traveling, particulary during a storm, dialing 511 will enable you to get “closed road” information in various regions of the state. AND, the suggestion to add “alternative route” information has been passed on to DOT by one of the Cabinet Aides.
I’ve been driving in Florida since 1957 and just learned about 511. Hope it helps someone else the next time – there will be a next time – there is a storm. Also, I’d like to note that we had no standing water, in fact there was a spot of sun when I got back to the office. Ocala must be known as the Kingdom of the Sun for a reason.