Suncoast Parkway still flooded - FOX 13 News

Suncoast Parkway still flooded

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Nearly 6,000 drivers a day have to take detours while engineers pump water off a submerged section of the Suncoast Parkway.

The good news is that engineers expect the 12-mile section of road to be dry by Thursday.

The bad news is that they will still have to see what kind of damage the water has left behind before they reopen it.

We took SkyFOX up the parkway near State Road 50 North on Tuesday, and as you can tell from photos, there's still plenty of work left.

Several feet of water cover the highway. Drivers, like Carly Martinez are detoured at State Road 50.

"It basically makes me go way out of my way. I took the kids to the springs yesterday and it ended up taking an hour and a half versus an hour," she said.

All four lanes, north and southbound are closed.

Officials say crews are pumping 18 million gallons of water out of the area each day, but still it remains mostly underwater in that stretch.

"Some people are still having problems going to their destination," driver Maria Rayes said as she pulled off the Suncoast at the State Road 50 detour.

Annoying as the detour is, it's also a first, according to Florida Turnpike spokeswoman Christa Deason.

"Never in the 12-year history of the Suncoast's existence has it been closed due to weather. That includes the 2004 hurricane season," she said.

It could be Thursday before the job is complete.

"We'd like to re-open the road by Thursday but we have to determine if there is any damage to the roadway itself or the shoulders," Deason explained.

It's possible some of the road is damaged. An estimated 80 million gallons of water poured onto the highway after nearby retention ponds overflowed.

LINK: The best of your Tropical Storm Debby pics

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