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Interstate 75 North - Sarasota County

Interstate 75 north
Mileage signs such as this appear every so often along Florida interstates to alert motorists as to the distance to the next major freeway to freeway interchange. Interstate 275 will intersect Interstate 75 north of Ellenton while the cross-state Interstate 4 will meet the interstate north of the Brandon area. Photo taken 07/10/11.
Toledo Blade Boulevard (former Sarasota County 779) services Interstate 75 at Exit 179. The interstate is in transition to a brief east-west alignment as it parallels neighboring U.S. 41 to the south and the southwest Florida coastline.
Toledo Blade Boulevard constitutes a north-south arterial that connects the interstate with U.S. 41 just to the east of the North Port city center. Photo taken 07/10/11.
Toledo Blade Boulevard heads south from Exit 179 to serve the eastern portion of North Port before entering Charlotte County. The arterial crosses U.S. 41 northwest of Murdock before looping east, becoming Cochran Boulevard east of Collingswood Boulevard in Murdock. Toledo Blade Boulevard also extends about a mile north of the interchange to end at Tropicaire Boulevard. Photo taken 11/25/12.
Interstate 75 reaches Toledo Blade Boulevard (former Sarasota County 779) and Exit 179. Original stamping on the median barrier for the overpass bridges once indicated this route to be "State Road 39", serving as an extension of the county and state road that lies directly north in Manatee, Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Initial plans from the 1970's also verify the existence of Florida 39 along the Toledo Blade corridor. Photo taken 07/10/11.
The second of two North Port interchanges, Sumter Boulevard (former Sarasota County 771) approaches in 1.25 miles at Exit 182. Photo taken 07/10/11.
Until the late 1990's and early 2000's, Sumter Boulevard was sparsely populated between U.S. 41 and Interstate 75. Residential subdivisions and a few commercial centers grew along the north-south arterial during the economic boom of the mid 2000's, though there is still no commercial centers at the interchange. Photo taken 07/10/11.
Interstate 75 reaches the diamond interchange (Exit 182) with Sumter Boulevard. The majority of the route now consists of a four-lane arterial with the exception of one two-lane section between W. Price Boulevard and Heron Creek Boulevard. Use Sumter Boulevard south to reach North Port City Hall and U.S. 41. Photo taken 07/10/11.

Still in its west movement, Interstate 75 north continues toward the Venice and Tampa areas. River Road and Exit 191 lie 8 miles ahead, with a connection to Venice lying at Exit 193. Photo taken 07/10/11.
Interstate 75 approaches River Road (unsigned Sarasota County 777) and Exit 191. River Road serves as a vital link between Englewood and the interstate, which lies to the south along the Sarasota and Charlotte county lines. A signed Sarasota County 777 exists between U.S. 41 and its terminus at Florida 776 in Englewood. Photo taken 11/25/12.
The diamond interchange with River Road lies immediately west of the Myakka River, which meanders from Lower Myakka Lake, within Myakka River State Park, southeastward and empties into Charlotte Harbor east of El Jobean. River Road only parallels the river between Interstate 75 and U.S. 41.
River Road currently terminates at Exit 191. A rest area formerly resided in the northeast quadrant of the interchange but has since closed. Photo taken 11/25/12.
Jacaranda Boulevard (unsigned Sarasota County 765) connects Interstate 75 with the city of Venice at Exit 193. Jacaranda Boulevard meanders south from the interstate to connect with U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) and Florida 776 (Englewood Road) near South Venice. Photo taken 11/25/12.
Interstate 75 was expanded from four to six lanes between River Road and SR 681 by 2012. Photo taken 11/25/12.
Jacaranda Boulevard lies on the eastern peripheral of Venice, connecting motorists from Exit 193 to the city via east-west arterials (Venice Avenue and Center Road). Photo taken 11/25/12.
Exit 193 serves as the turning point for Interstate 75 as the route resumes its northerly direction heading toward the metro areas of Sarasota and Tampa. Photo taken 11/25/12.
Laurel Road (former Sarasota County 762) encounters Interstate 75 next at Exit 195. The four-lane east-west arterial serves as another link west to U.S. 41, connecting I-75 with the community of Laurel. Photo taken 11/25/12.
Interstate 75 enters the Venice city limits at the Border Road overpass. Northbound motorists destined for Oscar Scherar State Park must exit at forthcoming Exit 195 for U.S. 41 north. Laurel Road west to Albee Farm Road south also connects the freeway with the community of Nokomis. Photo taken 11/25/12.
Originally, Laurel Road (old Sarasota County 762) had no direct access to the interstate. Construction of the interchange occurred well over a decade after the opening of Interstate 75 through this area. Before mileage-based exit numbers, it was referred to as Exit 35A, as it was situated between Exit 35 and Exit 36. Photo taken 11/25/12.
Green outs including the county road designation, even many that were already decertified, were added at all I-75 interchanges between North Port and Exit 195 between 2006 and 2007. Signs were designed with blanks, such as on this panel, to accommodate both route shields and road names. Photo taken 03/26/06.
Exit 195 consists of an elongated diamond as the carriageways are split here, with nearly 1,000 feet separating the northbound and southbound lanes of I-75. Photo taken 11/25/12.
Next in line for northbound motorists along Interstate 75 is Exit 205 with Florida 72 in nine miles. Downtown Sarasota is 17 miles to the northwest, with Tampa still an hour away. Photo taken 11/25/12.
Florida 681 constitutes a 4.14-mile connection between U.S. 41 and Interstate 75 north near Laurel. A wye interchange for I-75 south (Exit 200) SR 681 was originally built as a limited-access spur with a 70 mph speed limit. However, the extension of Honore Avenue in March 2011 south to Florida 681 ended the freeway status and reduced speeds (60 mph) along its entire stretch. Eventual plans call for two additional at-grade intersections between I-75 and U.S. 41.
The bridge identification shield for SR 681 pictured here was removed by 2012. Photo taken 03/26/06. Second photo taken 07/10/11.
The merge with Florida 681 previously commenced a six-lane stretch for I-75 that continued through to Exit 265 (Florida 582) in Tampa. That changed when widening was completed southward to North Port and will again by 2016 when six-laning in Hillsborough is complete. As such, commercial truck restrictions for the left-hand lane are also in place for all six-lane sections of the freeway. Photo taken 11/25/12.
Interstate 275, the urban loop west from I-75 through both St. Petersburg and Tampa, splits with I-75 in 26 miles while Interstate 4 crosses paths with I-75 in 59 miles. Photo taken 11/25/12.
Interstate 75 will reach Florida 72 (Exit 205) in three miles. The interstate skirts the east side of the Sarasota metro area, with the majority of development lying west of the freeway. Downtown Tampa lies on the north end of Tampa Bay, 62 miles away. Photo taken 07/10/11.
A guide sign advises motorists of the forthcoming access points to the area beaches. Florida 72 (Clark Road) takes beach goers to south Siesta Key while Florida 758 (Bee Ridge Road) leads to north Siesta Key. SR 780 (Fruitville Road) provides access to St. Armands via SR 789 (Ringling Causeway). Photo taken 07/10/11.
The first of four exits to serve the Sarasota area, Florida 72 (Clark Road) intersects Interstate 75 at a diamond interchange (Exit 205). The state road begins to the west at Florida 758 on Siesta Key and extends east through Myakka River State Park to end at Florida 70 just outside of Arcadia. Signage once indicated Sarasota as a control point for Florida 72, but sometime after 2006 it was replaced with Siesta Key as a primary control point for the state road. Photo taken 03/26/06. Second photo taken 07/10/11.
Florida 72 (Clark Road) consists of a six-lane arterial west from Exit 205. Eastward, SR 72 transitions into a rural two-lane highway as it makes a beeline southeast for Myakka River State Park. Heavy residential and commercial development have been slow to approach the state road east of Interstate 75. Photo taken 01/02/07. Second photo taken 11/25/12.
Taking the Exit 205 off-ramp, motorists approach a signalized intersection with Florida 72 (Clark Road). Interests to Downtown Sarasota can follow SR 72 west to U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) north. Aracadia, seat of Desoto County, is 39 miles to the east. Photos taken 01/02/07.
Interstate 75 north next encounters Florida 758 (Bee Ridge Road) and Exit 207. Bee Ridge Road is another heavily used and developed east-west arterial in Sarasota. State maintenance ends at the interchange.
A former generation of signage at Exit 207 included classic use of the state road shield. Signs were replaced after 2006 to current standards. Photo taken 03/26/06. Second photo taken 07/10/11.
Bee Ridge Road (SR 758) also serves as an indirect connection with the northern end of Siesta Key, via U.S. 41 and Siesta Drive (also Florida 758). Like the other east-west routes in the area, Florida 758 can be used as a hurricane evacuation route for residents wanting to leave the coastal areas in time of need. Photo taken 03/26/06. Second photo taken 07/10/11.
The third Sarasota-based interchange occurs at Florida 780 (Fruitville Road) at Exit 210, where the state road heads west toward the downtown area of Sarasota. East of the interchange Fruitville becomes county maintained and makes it way east and north, passing through the community of Fruitville on its way toward Florida 70. Photo taken 07/10/11.
Growth in the late 1990's and early 2000's turned Florida 780 west of Exit 210 from a two lane route to a six-lane arterial. The expansion also included the addition of several traffic signals along the corridor. Photo taken 07/10/11.
Florida 780 is heavily developed west of the interchange with Interstate 75 and passes by Robarts Arena on its way into downtown. The arena is home to the annual county fair as well as other events. The western terminus is at U.S. 41 in downtown Sarasota. Motorists can reach St. Armands via Florida 789 (John Ringling Boulevard) and the John Ringling Causeway. Photo taken 03/26/06. Second photo taken 07/10/11.
Commuter traffic between Sarasota and Bradenton adds to seasonal traffic, totaling 123,500 vehicles per day (vpd) on the stretch of I-75 between Exits 210 and 213 as recorded in 2013. Photo taken 09/26/13.
University Parkway lies two miles ahead, followed by the city of Bradenton along the south banks of the Manatee River. Tampa is still 54 miles away. Photo taken 09/26/13.
Interstate 75 north will meet University Parkway (unsigned Sarasota County 610) in 1.25 miles at a diamond interchange (Exit 213). Sometime after 2011 the unsigned designation changed from Sarasota County 750 to Sarasota County 610, perhaps as a reflection of the original design plans for University Parkway being touted as Florida 610. Photo taken 07/10/11. Second photo taken 09/26/13.
A progression of sign changes over the years reveals slight modifications to the status of University Parkway.
A portion of University Parkway was former U.S. 301 prior to its realignment and extension in the 1980's. U.S. 301 originally headed west along University Parkway from Washington Boulevard, curving north along the east boundary of the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport toward Oneco and Bradenton.
The airport was formerly referred to as the Sarasota-Bradenton Regional Airport, but given international status in November 1992 when it became a Port of Entry. Photo taken 03/26/06. Second photo taken 07/10/11. Third photo taken 09/26/13.
Motorists depart for Exit 213 and University Parkway (Sarasota County 610). Development around the interchange was absent for years until the mid-1990's when land to the east was opened up for residential communities. Lakewood Ranch grew out of cow pastures and horse fields to become one of the premiere unincorporated communities in adjacent Manatee County. Photo taken 07/10/11. Second photo taken 09/26/13.
The departure lane of Exit 213 expands to four lanes as it nears University Parkway. Two lanes split for University Parkway east toward Lakewood Ranch while the remaining lanes siphon motorists onto University Parkway west toward the international airport and Sarasota. The parkway is solidly laced with residential and commercial development from Interstate 75 west to U.S. 41.
Construction is currently underway for the upscale Mall at University Town Center, slated to open October 2014. Talks are also in place to modify the current configuration into a diverging diamond interchange (DDI) based on the proposed influx of traffic in the vicinity. If constructed, it would be the first of its kind in the state. Photo taken 09/27/13.
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) lies north of University Parkway with the majority of the facility lying in Manatee County. Both the New College of Florida and USF Sarasota-Manatee campuses are also reached via University Parkway west. Both colleges are situated along U.S. 41 north of the parkway. Using University Parkway west also takes travelers to the famous Ringling Museum located seven miles away. Photo taken 09/27/13.
Interstate 75 north enters Manatee County as it passes over University Parkway. Founded in 1855, the county is named after the state's official marine mammal, the manatee (sea cow as it is commonly called). Photo taken 09/26/13.



Photo Credits:
  • 2006-03-26 by AARoads and Justin Cozart.
  • 2007-01-02 by AARoads.
  • 2011-07-10 by AARoads.
  • 2012-11-25 by AARoads.
  • 2013-09-26 by AARoads.
  • 2013-09-27 by AARoads.

Page Updated 03-28-2014.

 
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