I-75 southbound near North Port reopened

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NORTH PORT, Fla. - Ongoing repair work on a damaged I-75 overpass once again forced the closure of all southbound lanes near North Port overnight Friday.

Florida Highway Patrol had closed all southbound lanes beginning at the River Road exit (mile marker 191) at 8pm Friday.  The road was re-opened Saturday morning.

Drivers were directed south on River Road, turning east onto U.S. 41, then headed north on Sumter Road back to the interstate.

The Ponce De Leon Boulevard overpass was damaged early Wednesday when a dump truck on I-75 southbound failed to lower its bed completely. The truck bed struck the overpass and was ripped from the vehicle. The driver was later arrested for leaving the scene on foot.

Damages to the overpass forced FHP to shut down the southbound lanes until 4pm, causing many traffic headaches and backups.  The same section was closed overnight Thursday from 7pm though 8:30am as workers began serious repairs to the overpass.

FHP says more overnight road closures may be needed to complete the repairs, and will likely be closed Saturday night.

With last minute shoppers traveling about this weekend, law enforcement officers are asking everyone to make sure they're paying even closer attention. "Right now their mind is focused on what store they are going to go to next. What they are going to buy. They're on their phone. They're texting. Everything they shouldn't be doing while driving. They need to be more focused on their driving. More focused on surroundings," says Officer Paul Joyce with the Venice Police Department.