Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Santa Fe River Receding Slowly – Bridges Still Closed – South End Residents Can't Leave County

The water on the Santa Fe was racing against the bottom of the roadway on the Santa Fe River bridge on U.S. 27. The white water seen in the middle of the photo is the water racing out of the swale next to 27.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – The Santa Fe River began receding yesterday afternoon giving hope to residents at the south end of Columbia County that they may be able to leave the County sooner, rather than later. The water, rushing down the river at breakneck speed, was lapping at the bottom of the roadbed on the Santa Fe River bridge on U.S. 27 yesterday afternoon.

The down river view of the bridge and river.

The State Police, the Dept. of Agriculture, and an engineering firm were monitoring the bridge and the river.

One of the officers from the Dept. of Ag. was intently looking up river. Your reporter asked him what he was looking for.

He replied that there was a report that there were kayakers on the river and may be headed toward the bridge.

The swales on the side of the road over flowed their banks about 200 yards north of the bridge. (looking toward Columbia County)

With no room between the bridge and the swiftly racing river, anyone who was swept under didn't appear to have a chance to get out alive on the other side.

Your reporter asked the officer what he was going to do if he spotted the kayakers headed toward the bridge.

He replied, "Pray for them."

The parking lot at the boat ramp on U.S. 27 looking toward the Alachua side of the river. The river is up to the road. It is usually about 50 feet wide at the boat ramp.

The bridge on U.S. 441 on the border of Columbia and Alachua Counties is also closed and being monitored.

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