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Weekend Getaways

All About Alligator Alley: A Scenic Route By means of the Florida Everglades

In case you’ve ever pushed by way of Florida from the state’s western coast to Miami, you’ve virtually definitely been by way of “Alligator Alley.” The freeway is a section of Interstate I-75, which stretches roughly 1,800 miles from Miami to the Canadian border. Nonetheless, the route continues for 80 miles by way of the Florida Everglades. This space is dubbed “Alligator Alley.” Vacationers and locals alike can journey the roadside, which takes its title from the neighboring marshes which are residence to Florida’s alligators.

It was beforehand walled off due to a number of wildlife-car collisions that cascaded over time. This protects each alligators and endangered animals such because the Florida panther, in addition to any passing guests. Fortunately, ample fencing was accomplished within the mid-Nineties, making it protected for each folks and wildlife to journey down this attractive route!

The Historical past of Alligator Alley

alligator taking a look at digicam with mouth open

iStock.com/tobiasfrei

Considerations relating to water move obstruction by way of the Everglades Nationwide Park by way of US 41 and the Tamiami Path led to the development of FL 84 routing in 1964. The “Everglades Expressway” was the preliminary title for the FL 84 extension. It was initially constructed as a 78-mile toll highway connecting Naples/Fort Myers within the southwest with Miami/Fort Lauderdale within the southeast.

Title Origin

Alligator Alley - I75
Alligator Alley from above.

Felix Mizioznikov/Shutterstock.com

Throughout building, the extension was dubbed “Alligator Alley” as a result of the American Vehicle Affiliation believed it could be a waste of area for automobiles and as an alternative function an “alley for alligators.” Many opponents stated that the highway was constructed with a brazen disregard for fundamental security and didn’t go the place its proponents claimed it could.

Design

Everglades National Park - Airboat
Everglades Nationwide Park is situated in Florida

GagliardiPhotography/Shutterstock.com

Over time, the two-lane FL 84 grew to become recognized for its poor design and the quite a few accidents it prompted due to motorists attempting to move each other. Despite the fact that a two-lane highway was initially meant, investigations confirmed {that a} four-lane cut up roadway was essential. A number of environmental modifications and lane widenings have been accomplished within the hall between 1986 and 1992, permitting extra water to move by way of the Everglades. In November 1992, Alligator Alley was christened I-75 to finish the 4-way freeway hyperlink between Tampa and Miami.

Security Measures

After the freeway was expanded, the variety of accidents arising from passing visitors decreased, however there have been nonetheless many incidents involving wildlife. Alligator Alley was changing into a typical roadkill vacation spot for Florida panthers. Crews have since erected wildlife fencing to create a protected habitat for wildlife whereas additionally defending drivers. This features a 10-foot fence from Naples to the Faka-Union Canal, a 9-mile stretch of Interstate 75. A ten-foot fence with barbed wire on high can be in place on each side of the freeway east of the canal, the place animal crossings are constructed beneath the roadway.

Alligator Alley and the Florida Everglades

baby alligator and mother
An American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) present in Everglades Nationwide Park, Florida

Marc Pletcher/Shutterstock.com

As one drives from east to west alongside Alligator Alley, they move by way of the populous Naples space with its well-kept golf programs, the wilds of Massive Cypress Swamp, and the sawgrass marshes of Water Conservation Space 3. It runs between Naples and Fort Lauderdale, slicing by way of the Florida Everglades.

The 1.5 million acres of land and wetlands that make up the Florida Everglades represent a big ecosystem. Most alligators reside within the southeastern coastal lowlands in freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, and wetland habitats, each pure and man-made. An estimated 5 million alligators reside within the southeastern United States, the place they’re extensively dispersed. Despite the fact that alligators are discovered all through the US, they’re greatest recognized for inhabiting the state of Florida. As an illustration, the Everglades comprises over 200,000 alligators, whereas Florida is residence to over 1.5 million. That’s at the very least one alligator for each twenty people!

The Everglades are additionally the one location on Earth the place alligators and crocodiles reside collectively. It’s estimated there are about 2,000 American crocodiles in southern Florida. They largely reside alongside the shoreline of the Everglades.

What’s It Like Driving Alligator Alley By means of the Florida Everglades?

Deadliest Animals in America
Alligator with jaws open huge at Everglades Nationwide Park. Alligators kill about one individual a 12 months in America.

Alligator Alley is an excellent place to look at wading birds in flight and at relaxation, in addition to alligators lurking alongside the canal banks. Whereas the Everglades are stunning, you’ll should drive by way of lots of marshlands, because it stretches for almost 80 miles. Regardless of the place you start your journey on Alligator Alley in Florida, you’ll be driving by way of huge swaths of the Everglades. Ensure you search for any relaxation areas you may come throughout, as there are only some of them! Earlier than setting out in your tour, be certain you might have sufficient fuel, have used the restroom, and are effectively fed.

Wildlife within the Everglades

Great Blue Heron fishing in Florida Everglades.
Nice Blue Heron fishing in Florida Everglades.

Often known as one of many world’s most diversified ecosystems, the Everglades is residence to all kinds of wildlife. It’s possible you’ll miss a number of the species should you don’t know what to search for. The subtropical wetland ecosystem helps a variety of plant and animal species, with alligators serving as keystone. Consider it or not, the Burmese python was by accident dispersed into the Everglades by Hurricane Andrew when it destroyed a snake facility and in addition pet house owners abandoning snakes within the space, making them invasive to the atmosphere.

The next is a broad vary of the varied wildlife that may be seen within the Florida Everglades:

  • Alligator Gar
  • American Alligator
  • Blue Heron
  • Burmese Python
  • Coral Snake
  • Crappie Fish
  • Eagle
  • Egret
  • Florida Panther
  • Fox
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Peacock
  • Skunk
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Turtle

Is Alligator Alley Protected to Journey?

Wanted Sign for Pythons in Everglades
Python Signal – Florida Everglades

Thomas Barrat/Shutterstock.com

Driving by way of Alligator Alley within the Florida Everglades, regardless of its scary moniker, is totally protected should you take the right measures. Overpasses maintain you out of the muddy waterways beneath and excessive fence retains animals off the highway. The stretch of freeway is protected to drive at evening, opposite to widespread perception. It’s necessary to keep in mind that the one sources of illumination alongside the highway are gentle posts and the headlights of passing cars.

Following the posted pace restrict is vital! On account of the huge, open roads, you’ll be inclined to hurry up. Nonetheless, the most typical deadly automobile accidents are linked to driving at extreme speeds, notably alongside Alligator Alley. The sight of stranded automobiles on the facet of the highway can be frequent. Be sure it doesn’t occur to you! Have a totally charged mobile phone, in addition to AAA or roadside assist in case of an emergency. Even whether it is declared “protected,” this isn’t the type of freeway you wish to be trapped on at 2 a.m.!

Suggestions for Driving Down Alligator Alley

Alligator Alley Sign
Alligator Alley has relaxation stops should you want a break

Pelow Media/Shutterstock.com

Uncommon as it could be folks have reported seeing alligators shut by alongside their trek. Alligators are extra inclined to assault in the event that they take into account an approaching automobile to be too shut. Staying within the automobile and solely stopping at accepted relaxation locations is subsequently suggested. There are numerous sights to see from the window of a automobile in Alligator Alley, together with the alligators.

Listed here are another suggestions that will help you should you plan to journey Alligator Alley:

  • Make Certain To Embrace Relaxation Stops In Your Journey Plans!
  • Eat Prior Or Convey A Cooler To Preserve Your Meals Contemporary.
  • All the time Comply with The Posted Velocity Restrict.
  • Preserve A Protected Distance From Alligators On The Street.
  • Alligators Ought to By no means Be Approached Or Fed.
  • If You See An Alligator On The Street, DO NOT Get Out Of Your Automotive.
  • Keep away from Alligator Nests At All Prices.
  • As You Would At Any Different Time, Chorus From Tailgating.
  • Solely Cease At Relaxation Stops When Crucial.
  • Take pleasure in The Surroundings And Have A Enjoyable Time!

What Occurs If You Hit An Alligator In Alligator Alley?

1653164559 124 All About Alligator Alley A Scenic Route Through the Florida - August 12, 2022
Two American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), Florida, USA

Matthew Discipline / Artistic Commons

Is an alligator blocking your path? The most secure plan of action is to return to an entire cease and keep away from every other automobiles. Hurting or killing an alligator is towards the legislation in Florida, and violators face a $2,500 effective and as much as 30 days in jail. By no means attempt to transfer an alligator by yourself. Wait till the alligator has crossed the highway earlier than persevering with your journey. Safely drive round it if doable. Solely do that whether it is nonetheless and doesn’t look like going anyplace. Alligators needs to be faraway from the highway by consultants, moderately than making an attempt to take away them your self. By no means, ever attempt to resolve an alligator downside by yourself!

What Is “Outdated Alligator Alley?”

1653164559 528 All About Alligator Alley A Scenic Route Through the Florida - August 12, 2022
Alligator Lake in Florida

Michael Rivera / Artistic Commons – License

To get throughout the southeastern tip of Florida’s peninsula, you possibly can take the modernized I-75 or the historic Tamiami Path (U.S. 41). Between Florida State Street 60 in Tampa and US 1 in Miami, the Tamiami Path stretches for 275 miles. North-south stretches till Naples when it turns east-west throughout the Everglades. About 25 miles additional north, Alligator Alley runs parallel to the Tamiami. The Tamiami Path, constructed within the late Twenties, was the primary freeway to cross the wetlands.

Though “Alligator Alley” is a well-liked vacationer attraction, many people declare to have pushed it a number of occasions with out recognizing an alligator. With regards to scenic views, the Tamiami Path is claimed to be the perfect route. There may be additionally an alternate route off Tamiami Path, a historic highway that after linked West Coast Florida with South Seashore, Florida. Within the Massive Cypress Nationwide Protect, this stretch of highway is named “Loop Street.” At occasions, you’ll encounter lots of alligators on this space, which runs alongside Route 75.

In Conclusion

tiny baby alligator
Child Alligator shut up

Ryancampbell/Shutterstock.com

Alligator Alley has lengthy had a foul status: it was initially thought to be a waste of time, then as harmful. Nonetheless, driving down Alligator Alley is the quickest option to the Florida Everglades Nationwide Park for residents in Broward and Collier Counties. If in case you have the time and are on the lookout for a scenic route, take the Tamiami Path throughout the Everglades, which provides quite a few alternatives to watch wildlife and take within the panorama. No matter your route, if it passes by way of Alligator Alley, you should still encounter Everglades animals and make some attention-grabbing stops. And right here’s a tip: go to the Everglades within the winter for the perfect wildlife watching and fewer mosquitoes!

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