Interstate 75 south
The $74.1 million DDI project at University Parkway included the addition of an auxiliary lane in each direction of Interstate 75 between Exits 213 and 210.1 Photo taken 07/07/17.
Interstate 75 runs along side Cooper Creek Lake and Nathan Benderson Park to the west and progresses 1.75 miles toward Florida 780 (Exit 210). Venice is situated within the central part of Sarasota County, with its city center located 23 miles ahead. Photo taken 07/17/17.
A community interchanges identification sign outlines the succeeding three exits that each serve area Gulf of Mexico beaches. All three state-maintained roads also serve Sarasota proper, with SR 780 leading west to Lido Key and St. Armands and SR 758 and SR 72 spanning the Intracoastal Waterway to Siesta Key. Photo taken 07/17/17.
A lane drop occurs in 1.25 miles along I-75 south at Exit 210. The upcoming six-ramp parclo interchange with SR 780 (Fruitville Road) will be reconstructed into a DDI as part of a two-mile widening project along I-75 between a point north of Fruitville Road south to Palmer Boulevard. Estimated to cost $86 million, construction is unfunded, and design work runs through late 2019.2 Photo taken 07/17/17.
SR 780 follows Fruitville Road west from I-75 toward the historic district of Downtown Sarasota. Traveling east of Exit 210, Fruitville Road becomes county-maintained as it makes its way toward Old Myakka and Sandy, passing through the community of Fruitville along the way. Photo taken 07/17/17.
Growth in the late 1990's and early 2000's turned Florida 780 (Fruitville Road) 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 07/17/17.
Heavily developed west of Exit 210, Florida 780 passes by Robarts Arena en route to Downtown Sarasota. The arena is home to the annual county fair as well as other events. The western terminus is at School Avenue, 0.381 miles shy of U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) near Sarasota Bay. Motorists can reach St. Armands via Florida 789 and John Ringling Causeway. Photo taken 07/17/17.
Traffic partitions from Exit 210 for Florida 780 (Fruitville Road). The state road totals 5.311 miles in length, with CR 780 extending another 14.27 miles east just beyond Coburn Road. Photo taken 06/17/14.
Industrial frontage lines both sides of Interstate 75 south from SR 780 to Phillippi Creek. Photo taken 04/05/14.
A parclo interchange (Exit 207) lies two miles ahead with Bee Ridge Road (SR 758). Venice is another 18 miles with Naples now 109 miles away. Photo taken 04/05/14.
1.25 miles out from Exit 207 with Florida 758 (Bee Ridge Road) on Interstate 75 south. Bee Ridge Road is another heavily used and developed east-west arterial linking the freeway with Sarasota proper. State maintenance ends just east of the freeway across Phillippe Creek. Photo taken 04/05/14.
One half mile ahead of Exit 207 for Bee Ridge Road. Widening planned for a 3.8-mile segment of I-75 between SR 780 (Fruitville Road) and a point south of SR 758 includes rebuilding the exchange with Bee Ridge Road into a hybrid diverging diamond interchange (DDI) with a southbound diversion ramp. A continuous flow intersection (CFI) will be constructed to the immediate west along SR 758 at Cattlemen Road.5 Photo taken 04/05/14.
Exit 207 leaves I-75 south for SR 758 (Bee Ridge Road). Bee Ridge Road provides an indirect connection with the northern end of Siesta Key, via Osprey Avenue north and Siesta Drive west. Both of these roads were formerly a part of SR 758 until a mileage swap with CR 777 made in May 2018.4
The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is located in Downtown Sarasota and can be reached via SR 758 (Bee Ridge Road) west and U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) north. Covering nearly 14 acres, the gardens take in over 130,000 visitors each year. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Proctor Road (former CR 72A) appears in the distance beyond this southbound reassurance marker. Photo taken 04/05/14.
The last of four interchanges to serve the Sarasota area, Interstate 75 approaches Florida 72 (Clark Road) and Exit 205. The state road ventures west to U.S. 41 ahead of Siesta Key and extends east through Myakka River State Park to end at Florida 70 just outside of Arcadia. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Florida 72 (Clark Road) consists of a six-lane arterial west of I-75 while becoming a rural two-lane highway to the east. Heavy residential and commercial development have been slow spread eastward along the 41.579-mile long state road.
$57 million in improvements planned for Exit 205 will convert the diamond interchange into a DDI and add auxiliary lanes to I-75 north to Proctor Road.6 Photo taken 04/05/14.
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Leaving the greater Sarasota area, I-75 pushes southward toward the Venice Connector (Florida 681) in four miles. The incorporated city of North Port, situated along the U.S. 41 corridor, succeeds Venice along I-75 in another 20 miles. Photos taken 04/05/14.
A random reassurance marker for Interstate 75 south located between Florida 72 (Exit 205) and Florida 681 (Exit 200). Photo taken 04/05/14.
I-75 south approaches the wye interchange (Exit 200) with Florida 681 in one mile. The Venice Connector is a 4.14 mile long spur linking Interstate 75 with U.S. 41 between Osprey and Laurel. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Past plans called for the Venice Connector to become a super-arterial for central Sarasota County, with at least three at-grade intersections for future residential and commercial development. Intersections were eventually added, including a signalized one with the extension of Honore Avenue south from SR 72. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Two lanes depart Interstate 75 south for Florida 681 (Venice Connector) south at Exit 200. The city of Venice lies seven miles to the south via U.S. 41. Photo taken 04/05/14.
A reassurance marker stands just beyond the separation with Exit 200. Areas east of the freeway remain rural, but long range plans call for an extension of Lorraine Road southward from Lakewood Ranch. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Interstate 75 south approaches Laurel Road (Exit 195) in 1.25 miles. Six-lane expansion for I-75 was completed between SR 681 (Exit 200) and River Road (Exit 191) by summer 2012. As part of the widening project, a new southbound span over Cow Pen Slough was built, with the roadway shifted inward. Photo taken 04/05/14.
The original southbound roadway of Interstate 75 was repurposed as part of a southward extension of Honore Avenue from SR 681 to Laurel Road at Exit 195. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Originally, Laurel Road (former CR 762) had no direct access to I-75. Construction of the interchange occurred well over a decade after the opening of Interstate 75 through this area. Laurel Road travels westward to Bayshore Road near Laurel and Nokomis and east to a dead end near the Myakka River. Photo taken 04/05/14.
The roadways of I-75 are separated by nearly 1,000 feet at the diamond interchange (Exit 195) with Laurel Road. The freeway also formally enters the city of Venice at this point. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Jacaranda Boulevard (Exit 193) connects Interstate 75 with the city of Venice in 1.25 miles. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Interstate 75 orientates eastward along a 14.8 mile course across central Sarasota County from near Exit 193 to after Exit 179. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Jacaranda Boulevard (former CR 765) stems south from Border Road near Exit 193 to connect with U.S. 41 and Florida 776 near South Venice. Exit 193 also provides motorists with the first of two connections for Englewood, located along Florida 776 near the Sarasota-Charlotte county line. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Jacaranda Boulevard meanders south on the eastern periphery of Venice to East Venice and South Venice. Connections via east-west arterials (Venice Avenue and Center Road) lead drivers back into Venice. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Progressing east, I-75 meets River Road at Exit 191 in 1.25 miles. River Road provides a second link from the freeway to Englewood, arcing 13 miles southward through Myakka State Forest to SR 776 (Indiana Avenue) in Downtown.
A mileage swap between Sarasota County and FDOT adds River Road to the state road system in exchange for sections of SR 758 and SR 72 on Siesta Key.3 Photo taken 04/05/14.
Crossing Havana Road on I-75 south, one half mile west of the diamond interchange (Exit 191) with River Road (SR 777). Photo taken 04/05/14.
Interstate 75 south reaches River Road (Exit 191) and the previous end of the six-lane portion south from Tampa Bay. With the northern 5.6 miles of River Road added to the state road system, FDOT will proceed on a $40 million widening project.6 South of U.S. 41, CR 777 extends along River Road 7.67 miles into Englewood.
A closed off-freeway rest area lies in the northeast quadrant of this exchange. Photo taken 04/05/14.
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Interstate 75 spans the Myakka River to the immediate east of River Road. The Myakka River meanders from Lower Myakka Lake within Myakka River State Park southeastward and empties into Charlotte Harbor east of El Jobean. Photos taken 04/05/14.
Located eight miles ahead, Sumter Boulevard is the first of two interchanges for the city of North Port. Port Charlotte, situated along the north banks of the Peace River across from Punta Gorda in Charlotte County, lies 22 miles to the southeast. Photo taken 07/17/17.
Continuing east, Interstate 75 enters the North Port City limits at Van Camp Waterway. A pervasive network of rural streets spreads both north and south of the freeway along this stretch. Photo taken 12/24/16.
The 8.5 mile section of I-75 from North River Road to Sumter Boulevard in North Port was expanded to six overall lanes during a $35.6 million project from 2013 to summer 2016.6 North Port is a sprawling municipality that saw tremendous growth until the economic bust of the late 2000s. North Port Charlotte is the official incorporated name, but in 1974 residents approved a change to be simply known as North Port. Photo taken 11/24/16.
Sumter Boulevard (former CR 771) was sparsely developed between U.S. 41 and Interstate 75 until the late 1990's and early 2000's. Residential subdivisions and commercial centers grew along the north-south arterial during the economic boom of the mid 2000's, though there are still no commercial outlets at the interchange. Photo taken 11/24/16.
Interstate 75 south reaches the diamond interchange (Exit 182) with Sumter Boulevard. All 4.6 miles of Sumter Boulevard south to the commercial center of North Port at U.S. 41 were expanded to accommodate four lanes of traffic. North Port City Hall resides along Sumter Boulevard ahead of West Price Boulevard. Photo taken 11/24/16.
Continuing east through North Port, Interstate 75 advances toward Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Cape Coral appears on mileage signage at 47 miles out. The Lee County city resides west of Fort Myers and the Caloosahatchee River and is home to over 180,000 residents. Photo taken 04/05/14.
The first of two exits serving Port Charlotte, Interstate 75 approaches Toledo Blade Boulevard (Exit 179). Toledo Blade Boulevard constitutes a north-south arterial that connects the interstate with U.S. 41 just to the east of North Port. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Toledo Blade Boulevard south to Florida 776 (El Jobean Road) leads motorists to Charlotte Sport Park, spring training site for the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team and their minor league affiliate, the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Toledo Blade Boulevard heads north from Exit 179 a short distance to Tropicaire Boulevard and south across the eastern portion of North Port before entering Charlotte County. The arterial crosses U.S. 41 northwest of Murdock and loops east, becoming Cochran Boulevard beyond Collingswood Boulevard. Photo taken 04/05/14.
Interstate 75 south at Exit 178 for Toledo Blade Boulevard (Exit 179). Initial plans from the 1970's incorporated Toledo Blade Boulevard into an extension of Florida 39 south from Hillsborough County. This route designation never came to fruition, most likely due to the state reducing the inventory of state roads in the early 1980's. Instead Toledo Blade Boulevard carries the former numbering of CR 779 between I-75 and U.S. 41. Photo taken 04/05/14.
$73 million expansion of I-75 from four to six lanes took place along the 15.6-mile segment from Sumter Boulevard to Harborview Boulevard between January 4, 2016 and late 2017.8 Photo taken 04/05/14.
Turning southeastward, Interstate 75 is now within eight miles of Charlotte County. Fort Myers is still 42 miles away. Long range plans call for a new interchange along this stretch with Yorkshire Street. Included in the Sarasota County comprehensive plan, freeway access will serve "Activity Center 6". a 1,267 acre area with 199 acres slated for commercial development, 383 for industrial and 133 for offices.9 Photo taken 04/05/14.
Interstate 75 leaves the North Port city limits on its approach to Kings Highway (Exit 170). Photo taken 04/05/14.
Interstate 75 briefly nips the southwest corner of DeSoto County at Lake Suzy before reaching Kings Highway (Exit 170). Arcadia, the only incorporated city within the county, lies 21.1 miles to the northeast. Photo taken 04/05/14.


 

Sources:

  1. "New Diverging Diamond leaves some confused, but many think it’s a positive change." Bradenton Herald (FL), May 21, 2017.
  2. I-75 / Fruitville Road Interchange FDOT District 1, project web site.
  3. "Road swap paves way for River Road improvements." Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, FL), May 18, 2018.
  4. Interstate 75 from South of Bee Ridge Road to South of Fruitville Road, Sarasota County. FDOT District 1, project web site.
  5. I-75 at Clark Road (SR 72) in Sarasota County FDOT District 1, project web site.
  6. "Sarasota County accepts state deal to widen, improve River Road." The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL), May 22, 2018.
  7. "Widening efforts advance for I-75 through North Port." Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, FL), June 12, 2014.
  8. "I-75 Six Lane Project from Harborview Road to Sumter Boulevard." Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), flyer. December 2015.
  9. "North Port eyes new I-75 exit at Yorkshire Street." Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, FL), May 14, 2018.


Photo Credits:

04/05/14, 06/17/14, 11/24/16, 12/24/16, 07/07/17, 07/17/17 by AARoads

Connect with:
Florida 681

Page Updated 08-09-2018.