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Friday, June 14, 2024

UF’s Inner Road to undergo 16-month construction project

Construction to replace aging underground utilities

Inner Road Closure: From Newell Drive to 13th Street
Inner Road Closure: From Newell Drive to 13th Street

But where will they park? UF moped drivers are fed up as UF once again closes a main road and popular parking lot for construction and maintenance. 

In a press release Thursday, UF announced it will close Inner Road to all traffic starting Wednesday. The closure is due to improvements to underground utilities that serve nearby buildings like Broward and Newell Halls. 

The Inner Road construction will affect parking and personal vehicle traffic. The road is central to many of UF’s hotspots — Marston Science Library, Plaza of the Americas, Turlington, Broward Dining and Newell Hall.

The project, which fits into the 2020 Strategic Campus Master Plan, is projected to take about 16 months. Once complete, Inner Road will be a two-way road with bicycle and pedestrian-safe spaces. Between now and then, public transportation routes will not be affected. 

The Inner Road closure announcement comes after a series of closures on campus. Over the past two years, various parts of campus have been closed for construction, most notably Museum Road, Gale Lemerand Drive and Union Road.

UF’s comprehensive planning effort is meant to enhance campus by creating safer spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. 

But because Inner Road leads straight to Southwest 13th Street, a main road bordering the university, for campus commuters, this may prove to be a pain.

Cameron Johnston, a 20-year-old UF nuclear engineering junior, said he’s watched different parts of campus close since his freshman year. He’s beginning to grow frustrated.

The university is temporarily taking away parking spots near his classes and Marston Science Library, but it also isn't adding any additional parking. The closest lots will probably be full, Johnston said. 

UF parking has been an ongoing issue for students, who must pay up to $80 a semester for parking. Students also struggle with traffic on campus, especially during rush hours. 

“It’s sometimes just the fastest way to leave,” he said. “That road being closed in addition with all the other construction they're doing just makes it very hard to navigate campus.” 

Johnston understands construction at UF is necessary, but he felt it doesn’t seem like the university took student opinions into account, he said. 

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“It seems like the pace of the construction — along with the timing of it — it could’ve been handled better,” Johnston said. 

Benjamin Evelev, a 21-year-old UF political science junior, used Inner Road to get off campus quickly and park his moped, he said.

“It's probably the closest place on campus to anywhere,” he said. “My freshman year, I would use it a lot to get off of campus and even this year because with Museum being closed, it's been difficult to find another way off campus.”

Evelev has been at the university for the closures of Museum Road, Gale Lemerand Drive and Union Road. Every day, it’s a guessing game for the best way to get to campus, he said. 

“I understand why it will ultimately lead to better things but for it to all be during my four years – it might be selfish to say but it's been irritating,” he said. 

Contact Ella at Follow her on Twitter @elladeethompson.

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Ella Thompson

Ella Thompson is a third-year journalism major and the Spring 2024 Metro Editor. In her free time, she likes to go to the beach or read a good book. 

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