Category 3 Storm Continues Pushing Through Bahamas, Aiming For Florida Coastline
Tolls have been suspended on nearly all of Florida’s toll roads and the mainline of Florida’s Turnpike due to the approach of Hurricane Matthew. Chad Huff, spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation, announced the toll suspensions late this afternoon in a written release. The suspensions take effect at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and will remain in effect for the duration of the storm.
The suspensions will be in effect for the following roadways:
- Florida’s Turnpike Mainline, from Exit 2X in North Miami Beach/Miramar, north to the mainline terminus at Wildwood’s Exit 309.
- Alligator Alley between Broward and Collier Counties
- The Sawgrass Expressway in West Broward
- The Seminole Expressway, which is the north leg of SR 417
- The Holland East-West Expressway in Orlando
- The Daniel Webster Western Beltway
- The Osceola Parkway in Osceola County
- The Beachline Expressway, between Interstate 4 in Orlando and US 1 in Brevard County.
- The Polk Parkway in Lakeland.
Huff warned drivers to follow road signs and pay attention to message signs on the roadways. Specifically, he stated there would be directional signs posted at toll plazas, warning drivers to use extra care, as the plazas will be unmanned. “[Drivers] are advised to obey directional signs posted in advance of toll plazas and exercise caution when approaching the plaza structure.”
The National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. hurricane advisory shows the track of Matthew has jogged back to the west, putting the storm just offshore of Stuart by Friday morning. With the windfield on Hurricane Matthew extending outward about 175 miles from the center, even an offshore storm is likely to cause extreme high winds on approach, making travel hazardous beginning around midday Thursday, according to forecasters.
Tolls will remain suspended until after the storm passes and officials have assessed damage on the roadways, Huff said.