The 100-mile stretch of highway that cuts across the southern part of the state has only been open in fits and spurts as a major fire in the Everglades has limited visibility and caused concerns about the fire jumping the interstate.
Traffic has been rerouted onto State Route 29 and U.S. 41, both two-lane roads. In addition, I-95 and the Florida Turnpike are seeing more traffic as highway users avoid the Alligator Alley area in fear of road closures.
According to Lt. Malcolm Rhodes of the Florida State Police, the highway was open from about 3 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. yesterday morning, when it had to be closed again thanks to a shift in the winds.
"Obviously we've been very frustrated with the fact that we've had to delay the reopening of Alligator Alley for quite some time," Rhodes said in an interview with RoadStar Radio News. "We're monitoring the situation very closely; we want to reopen that thing as fast as we poosibly can."
Rhodes says the forestry service has the fires more under control now than they have been since the onset of the situation. However, weather conditions are keeping the smoke lingering in the area.