Interstate 75 north
Upon entering Collier County, Interstate 75 also enters the Big Cypress National Preserve. Established in October 1974, the Big Cypress National Preserve covers approximately 720,000 acres. Interstate 75 is rare in the fact that it is part of an elite group of Interstate highways to traverse through National Park/Monument lands. Other Interstates include Interstate 94 (Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota) and Interstate 15 (Mojave National Preserve in California). Photo taken 03/04/14.
Interstate 75 north quickly approaches the first of two recreation areas within Big Cypress National Preserve at mile marker 51. Photo taken 03/04/14.
The recreation area at Interceptor Canal opened for use in June 2013. The facility includes a boat ramp and parking for six vehicles with trailers. Photo taken 03/04/14.
The freeway crosses Interceptor Canal at the recreation area off-ramp. Photo taken 03/04/14.
I-75 passes north of Doctors Prairie over the next few miles. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Ditches line both sides of Interstate 75 through Big Cypress National Preserve. This sign mentions the Everglades Radio Network to Alley travelers. Photo taken 03/04/14.
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11.4 miles west of the county line at mile marker 63, a diamond interchange serves a rest area south of Billy Strand and north of Bamboo Strand. The area was closed between June 2013 and August 22, 2014 as part of an $8.8-million project to modernize the facility and construct a public safety center for Alligator Alley.1 Photos taken 10/18/14.
Interstate 75 proceeds west from the rest area by another shield assembly. Photo taken 03/04/14.
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The main Big Cypress National Preserve Access Area lines Interstate 75 to the south of Little Marsh and north of Baxter Island. There are no boat ramps at this area. Photos taken 03/04/14.
Interstate 75 continues west toward the southward kink near East Hinson Island and Deep Lake Strand. Photo taken 03/04/14.
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Alligator Alley shifts southward three quarters of a mile ahead of the CR 839 crossing at milepost 74. Photos taken 03/04/14.
The first Collier County interchange (Exit 80) joins Interstate 75 with Florida 29 at Miles City in two miles. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Florida 29 north extends to Immokalee and La Belle before merging with U.S. 27 near Palmdale (northwest of Clewiston and west of Lake Okeechobee). Photo taken 03/04/14.
Use Florida 29 south to access swamp attractions, including the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Everglades National Park. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Florida 29 south extends to meet U.S. 41 (hidden Florida 90) four miles west of Ochopee. The state-maintained portion ends at U.S. 41 while a county-maintained portion (Collier County 29) continues south, connecting Everglades City and Chokoloskee to the state road system. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Interstate 75 travelers leave Big Cypress National Preserve at the SR 29 overpass. Photo taken 03/04/14.
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Twenty-two miles separate Florida 29 from Collier County 951 (Exit 101), which lies on the eastern peripheral of Naples. Photos taken 03/04/14.
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Lands west from here remain protected as part of Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge to the north and Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park to the south. Photos taken 03/04/14.
Two miles ahead of the Alligator Alley end, northbound motorists pass by an Interstate junctions mileage sign. These signs are posted sporadically throughout the Florida Interstate system listing the distances to major Interstate interchanges. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Interstate 75 passes along the north side of Picayune Strand State Forest through to the Alligator Alley end on the outskirts of Naples. A southbound side toll plaza collects fares for the eastbound parkway. Photo taken 03/04/14.
No longer a tolled facility, Interstate 75 north prepares to meet Collier County 951 and Exit 101. Exit 101 also connects motorists with Florida 84 west. Before Alligator Alley (Everglades Parkway) was upgraded to interstate standards in the early 1990's, Florida 84 once seamlessly linked Naples with Fort Lauderdale. When Interstate 75 was routed onto Alligator Alley, that alignment was severed. Florida 84 now exists in two segments, one in Fort Lauderdale parallel with Interstate 595 and the other portion in Collier County from CR 951 west to U.S. 41. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Northbound Interstate 75 reaches Collier County 951 (Exit 101). County Road 951 (Collier Boulevard) is a major north-south arterial that originates as a state road from Marco Island. It becomes a locally-maintained facility north of U.S. 41, southeast of Naples. Collier Boulevard continues north from U.S. 41 as a divided highway with four to six lanes. It passes Florida 84 and Interstate 75 within a quarter mile of each other. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Collier Boulevard south heads to Marco Island while County Road 951 extends north to nearby Golden Gate and ultimately Collier County 846. Photo taken 03/04/14.
The short stretch between Exit 101 and Florida 84 west to Naples doubles as unmarked State Road 951. A second stretch of SR 951 totals 7.07 miles from U.S. 41 south to the Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Reassurance marker for Interstate 75 north after Exit 101. The freeway will end its westerly trek at the interchange with Golden Gate Parkway (Exit 105) in about 2.5 miles. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Interstate 75 begins its approach to Collier County 886 (Golden Gate Parkway) and Exit 105. The interchange opened to traffic March 12, 2007, providing additional access to Naples and Golden Gate. Photo taken 03/04/14.
An older mileage sign indicates the distance to the next interchange at Pine Ridge Road (former CR 896). This sign predates the completion of the Golden Gate Parkway interchange (Exit 105) by at least three years. Some of the tremendous growth spurt in the Naples area (and in Southwest Florida in general) is evident with the construction of subdivisions lining the interstate as it makes its way west and north toward Exit 105 and beyond. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Collier County 886 begins at U.S. 41 north of downtown Naples and extends east 7.2 miles to end at Collier County 951 in Golden Gate. A single point urban interchange (SPUI) was opened in 2007 at CR 886 and Airport-Pulling Road. Airport-Pulling Road (CR 31) is a north-south route linking U.S. 41 with CR 846. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Interstate 75 begins its northward turn and nears Collier County 886 (Exit 105). The freeway was constructed through the Naples area in the 1980's. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Golden Gate Parkway west provides Interstate 75 with a more direct connection with downtown Naples. CR 886 east navigates motorists through Golden Gate before terminating at Collier County 951 (Collier Boulevard). Photo taken 08/28/10.
Having gained a third northbound lane, Interstate 75 proceeds north to the greater Fort Myers area. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Interstate 75 north encounters Pine Ridge Road (CR 896) and Exit 107 in 1.25 miles. Part of a project completed before 2010, over 30 miles of Interstate 75 were upgraded from four to six travel lanes to accommodate the increased traffic between Naples and Fort Myers. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Pine Ridge Road (CR 896) extends west four miles from Interstate 75 to end at U.S. 41 in North Naples and three miles east terminating at Collier County 951. The former county road also intersects another major north-south arterial serving the Naples area, Airport-Pulling Road (CR 31) halfway between I-75 and U.S. 41. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Motorists depart for Pine Ridge Road and Exit 107. Pine Ridge Road is another major local east-west corridor serving the North Naples and Golden Gate areas. Photo taken 03/04/14.
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County Road 896 lined Pine Ridge Road for seven miles between U.S. 41 and CR 951 (Collier Boulevard). Naples is an eight mile drive west via Pine Ridge Road and U.S. 41 south. Photos taken 03/04/14.
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Continuing north from Exit 107, Interstate 75 next meets Collier County 846 (Immokalee Road) in 3.6 miles. Photos taken 03/04/14.
1.25 miles south of Exit 111 with County Road 846 on I-75 north. Delnor-Wiggins State Park lies along the Gulf of Mexico and is reached via Collier County 846 west and Bluebill Avenue. Like other areas in Southwest Florida, Interstate 75 has been slowly surrounded by development, losing more and more forest land each time. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Collier County 846 (Immokalee Road) begins at U.S. 41 in Naples Park and heads east toward Interstate 75, Collier County 951, and beyond. The county road eventually ends 32.92 miles from its suburban beginnings in downtown Immokalee at Florida 29. Photo taken 08/28/10.
Interstate 75 reaches Collier County 846 and Exit 111. Much like the rest of the corridors linking the interstate with the Naples area, the portion between U.S. 41 to about two miles east of Collier County 951 has surrendered to suburbanization over the decades. Immokalee Road has transformed from a one time agriculture-based two-lane road to a six-lane commercialized and subdivision-laced arterial. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Several golf course communities front Interstate 75 north through to the Lee County line. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Fort Myers is another 30 miles to the north, followed by Tampa in 152 miles. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Lee County 865 (Bonita Beach Road) and Exit 116 lie 1.25 miles ahead. CR 865 serves the city of Bonita Beach along the U.S. 41 corridor to the west. Photo taken 03/04/14.
Interstate 75 enters Lee County and the city of Bonita Springs at mile marker 115. Once an unincorporated area of Lee County, Bonita Springs became a city in December 1999 and has seen tremendous growth since. Photo taken 08/28/10.


 

Sources:

  1. I-75onthego | I-75 Rest Area at MM 63, FDOT web site.


Photo Credits:

  • 08/28/10 by AARoads.
  • 03/04/14 by AARoads and Chris Kalina.
  • 10/18/14 by AARoads.

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Page Updated 11-18-2014.