Smoke Warning Signs Planned for I-75 Motorists Near Paynes Prairie
Months after smoke from a brush fire helped cause a deadly crash along Interstate 75, the state has approved money for message boards near Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, south of Gainesville, to provide warnings of conditions in the area beginning July 1.
“While it is disappointing that the early warning detection system won’t be available any sooner, I’m glad the Legislature saw the importance of this issue,” Rep. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, stated in a release. “Public safety is at the heart of what government does and our roads are becoming more dangerous all the time.”
In January, 11 people died in a series of fiery chain collisions in the smoke and fog on Interstate 75 across from the preserve.
“The tragic accidents in late January and the fires we are now seeing are stark reminders of the dangers that remain a reality in our area,” Perry stated.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has cautioned that Florida is on the verge of another active wildfire season.
Florida’s Department of Transportation anticipates message boards being placed at both the Micanopy and Williston exits on either end of Payne’s Prairie later this summer, when funding is available after the start of the next fiscal year.