IRMA: St. Johns River could crest, force closure of SR 46

By Christina Jensen and Jeff Allen, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Thursday, September 14, 2017, 12:21 PM EDT

State troopers and the Florida Department of Transportation were closely watching rising waters on the St. Johns River that could flood busy State Road 46 in Seminole County.

If the St. Johns River, swollen by Hurricane Irma waters, crests over S.R. 46, and the roadway needs to be shut down, drivers will need to find an alternative route. S.R. 46 is heavily navigated by motorists traveling between Seminole and Brevard counties.

Sgt. Kim Montes with Florida Highway Patrol said a preliminary S.R. 46 closure — which could change — would be from Jungle Road to the Seminole County/Brevard line. Alternative routes would be State Road 50 to the south and Maytown Road to the north.

The roadway is the only way for many people in the Geneva area to get to nearby stores to get gas, food and other necessities. 

Joy Boutwell, who said she's lived in the Geneva area for many years, said she thinks the water will go higher than it did during flooding from other storms in the past.

"I think this is worse that Faye, because with Faye, it flooded just on this side of 46. This time, it’s flooding on other side, so looks like more water this time,” Boutwell said.

Montes said the water was about 5 feet from S.R. 56 Thursday morning. Seminole County officials and deputies were also monitoring the water levels. They don't expect the St. Johns River to crest until late Thursday night or Friday morning.

Rising water from the river has already caused damage to one neighborhood in Geneva. A river flood warning remains in effect for the St. Johns River near Cocoa, Geneva, Sanford, DeLand and Astor.