UF restricts roadways, expect more road closures due to construction
The University of Florida will be adding road restrictions to its campus in an effort to reduce traffic congestion at the core of the institution.
The road restrictions will be added Jan. 9 and enforced during the peak hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm on weekdays while classes are taking place.
The restricted road areas will be on Stadium Road, beginning at the intersection of Fletcher Drive eastbound, Newell Drive, starting at the intersection of Inner Road northbound, Union Road, starting at Criser Hall westbound and Buckman Drive, beginning at Buckman Hall southbound.
“We’re at the point now where it’s safe to restrict that area to improve pedestrian traffic once again and also have some avenues for people traveling throughout campus to safely get from one place to another,” said Latrell Simmons, captain of the UF Police. Department.
The vehicle-restricted areas will have four entry points that will be marked with a sign and a flashing red light. The area was restricted before but was opened again last year due to construction projects.
“That area opened back up due to the amount of construction that was occurring here on campus and the amount of road closures due to that construction,” Simmons said.
President Kent Fuchs also recently said the UF community can expect more campus work underway, adding an additional 1 million square feet that is authorized for construction.
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According to a UF news release, the move is also occurring to improve pedestrian safety on UF’s campus.
Authorized vehicles such as transit vehicles, government vehicles, bicycles, university vehicles and emergency vehicles are approved to use the restricted roads. However, privately owned vehicles such as cars, scooters and motorcycles will be prohibited. The rules will be enforced by UFPD.
On Tuesday, officers began an educational phase to let drivers know about the road restrictions. On Jan. 16, drivers who are prohibited to use the road will receive warnings. The new rules will be enforced by law enforcement on Jan. 23.
Simmons said due to more on-coming construction projects for 2023 community members can expect more road closures.
“The University of Florida has been responsive to concerns about vehicular traffic and the roadways being closed and we just ask that everyone continue to be patient as we improve our campus community,” Simmons said.
At the State of the University address last year, Fuchs told the community that more campus work is underway and it would add an additional 1 million square feet that is authorized for construction.
According to UF’s construction project page, there are at least a dozen projects under construction right now.
Other road projects in the works
Aside from the new restrictions, there are other construction projects taking place along University Avenue.
The road projects follow the deaths of two UF students who were hit by cars while walking on University Avenue in December 2020 and January 2021.
Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson Daryl Gross said from NW 16th St. and NW 19th St. longer traffic signals are being installed with an estimated completion for spring 2023, if weather conditions permit.
And beginning in the spring raised crosswalks will be installed along University Avenue from Gale Lemerand Drive to Northwest 14th Street