Base of The Bridge Project Delayed Again

6
17

The Florida Department of Transportation tells Beach Talk Radio News the base-of-the bridge project, that’s been in the works for years, will not begin until August. The project was expected to start this month. FDOT says the contractor needs more time to purchase materials. When the project finally does begin it will start on the beach side.

FDOT says the project will relieve congestion in the area between the alternating lights at Prescott/Buttonwood and the Crescent Street light under the Margaritaville walkover. The total length of the project is about 1 mile.

On the Hurricane Bay Bridge, bicycle lanes will be added in both directions and the bridge will be resurfaced. A 5-foot sidewalk will also be added with a barrier wall.

The light at Prescott and Buttonwood will stay alternating during season. It will function as a regular light when traffic is slower, during the off-season.

From the Hurricane Bay Bridge to Main Street, FDOT will be resurfacing and re-striping to incorporate bicycle lanes in each direction. The speed limit will be changed from 45MPH to 40MPH.

Once you get to the base of the bridge and head toward the beach, the curb that bottlenecks the second lane will be removed so two lanes of traffic can continue onto the bridge.

A new traffic signal will be added at the base of the bridge at Main Street and San Carlos. A new bus bay will be added to the southbound approach to the bridge.

On the bridge, during peak season the lane configurations will not change, to allow for public transportation and emergency vehicles. During the off-season drivers will be allowed to use both lanes heading onto the beach. Currently there is one lane going in both directions.

On the bridge the current sidewalk will be widened 5 feet to 8 feet to accommodate pedestrians and bicycles. Currently you’re not permitted to ride your bike in the walking area on the bridge, you must get off and walk your bike over. When the change is made you’ll be allowed to bike on the sidewalk. There will not be a specific bike lane so bikers and walkers will still need to watch out for one another.

The base of the bridge on the beach side will be totally reconstructed. A new traffic signal will new installed at 5th street. With the additional 2 traffic lights, FDOT says they will all communicate with each other and better be able to flow traffic on and off the island. At the end of the day, once you get onto Fort Myers Beach there is still one lane going in both directions.

There will be an abundance of crosswalks at the base of the bridge on the beach side. That topic has been very controversial with the Fort Myers Beach Town Council and residents who’ve for years experienced drivers stopping and pedestrians darting across the street wherever they can. FDOT says Lee County and Margaritaville have worked out an agreement for landscaping which FDOT says will prevent pedestrians from crossing will-nilly. FDOT says the landscaping will steer the pedestrians to clearly marked crosswalks, where the drivers expect them to be. Margaritaville will maintain the landscaping. There will also be a pedestrian crossing close to Crescent Beach Park.

The empty lot in front of Margaritaville, which was donated by TPI to Lee County, is also part of this project. That area will be turned into a wider road that connects with the current roadway to help flow traffic onto the bridge and off the island. Lee County and FDOT are partnering on that portion of the project. The state owns the bridge and the roadway off the bridge. Lee County owns Estero Boulevard.

The project started in design back in 2019. The original plan was to have the project begin in 2023 and be done by the end of this year. That plan was delayed with a targeted start date of April 2024 and now it is again being delayed with a plan to start in August. The project is expected to take 18 months to complete.

The estimated cost for the project is $8 million. All the money is coming from the federal government.

6 COMMENTS

  1. WOW! Traffic issues that still make no sense. I would like to ask why wouldn’t they use the bridge middle lane to move traffic on in busy hours during the day to get on the island and in the evening use it for traffic getting off the island? This is used in many of the states I have travelled for years and works great. The other issue is no one is forced to use the elevators at Margaritaville to go over the road which was the concept proposed. Wait time needs to be longer when hitting the crosswalk buttons and maybe people will use the overhead cross walk.

  2. Picture a traffic circle around Margaritaville. Traffic going south goes one way between the gulf and hotel. Traffic going north goes one way between hotel and lighthouse. No traffic lights. Why wouldn’t this be a better option?

  3. Would have liked to have seen the 3 additional feet put on Northside of bridge. Then at least people could walk over in a single file. Less crossing at base of bridge. More width for bikes to whizz by you will not end well. No excuse for delays! FDOT and Lee County knew the timeline.

  4. After all these years, the Hurricane and Matanzas Pass Bridges are going to make sense for pedestrians and bicycles. Looking forward to the oval-about at the base. Thank you Lee Co., FDOT, FMB and TPI for making this finally come to fruition. Hopefully the traffic going north on Estero Blvd is also helped….. time will tell.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here