The Florida Department of Transportation held an informational meeting for Fort Myers Beach residents Thursday night regarding the massive Matanzas Pass Bridge redesign project. 75 residents attended, about 15 spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.
The meeting was mainly informational, there was no back-and-forth between the residents and F.D.O.T. representatives. The state is redesigning the foot of the Matanzas Pass bridge as well as the actual bridge and the roadway leading up to the bridge.
The maze of crosswalks at the foot of the bridge was a main concern for residents last night. Anyone who lives or visits the island knows a lot of the traffic issues are caused by drivers stopping for pedestrians crossing everywhere on Estero Boulevard. Crossovers, or barriers to funnel pedestrians to one crossing location, have been brought up to the state many times as possible solutions. As of now the state plan has a slew of crosswalks at the base of the bridge.
Councilman Jim Atterholt was one of the public commenters last night. He said he’s a fan of the overpass, mentioning that TPI is building one for the Margaritaville project. “I hope you’ll hear the folks tonight. I hope you’ll listen, and go back and make this a project we can all agree on.”
Another issue some beach residents are concerned about is the plan for F.D.O.T. to change the light at Prescott and Buttonwood from a flashing light to a continuous light as drivers jostle for position to come over the bridge. To alleviate that, F.D.O.T. is planning to make the bridge two lanes coming onto the beach by eliminating the bus/bike lane on the bridge and widening the road as drivers approach the bridge.
Comments are still being accepted by the state. If you would like to submit your comments send them to Richard Oujevolk who is the Project Manager for the Matanzas Pass Bridge project at Richard.Oujevolk@dot.state.fl.us.
If all goes according to plan, the $7 million project could start by the middle of 2023 and be completed by the end of 2024.
FDOT spokesman Adam Rose will be on Beach Talk Radio Saturday morning at 9:30 to discuss the next steps in the project.
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