“gators in the 'glades!”
The Alligator Alley segment (from Naples to just west of Fort Lauderdale) previously existed as a two-lane tollway connecting the two coasts of Florida. Initially known as Everglades Parkway (State Road 84), it opened for traffic on February 11, 1968 after four years of construction. Built by H. L. Mills Construction Company, it had been called the most controversial roadway ever built in Florida during its initial construction. The name "Alligator Alley" was given by the American Automobile Association while it was planned since they believed it would be useless to cars, merely an "alley for alligators". However, as alligators often frequent the waterways beside the road, and occasionally the road itself, the nickname has developed a somewhat literal meaning. The state would officially adopt the Alligator Alley name in 1966. As a two-lane road, Alligator Alley suffered from poor construction and environmental planning. It was also notorious for high-speed accidents with both head-on collisions and collisions with wildlife. The need to improve it was one of the factors in the decision to reroute I-75 onto the alley, which was rebuilt as a four-lane interstate highway between 1986 and 1992. Many bridges and culverts designed to let water and wildlife pass underneath and permit the natural water flow of the Everglades were built as part of the upgrade. This helped to reduce the environmental impact of the highway somewhat, especially upon the severely endangered Florida panther. The completion of the converted Alligator Alley was the final link of the I-75 extension. The segment was signed Interstate 75 on November 25, 1992, fully completing the highway from Miami to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
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Alligator Alley (Florida State Road 84)
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