Changes coming to SR 82 after recent deadly wrecks

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LEE COUNTY, Fla.- State Road 82 has seen a number of deadly crashes, with two fatal wrecks claiming five lives in just days.

Drivers say they feel unsafe traveling along on the road, and many are now demanding change.

Mike Harden has lived off of SR 82 for years. He says he’s seen so many accidents and close calls, he used to hold his breath while his wife would head home from work.

“I’m afraid for her safety,” said Harden. “When I would see her come around the corner on her way home, I was very thankful that she made it home safely.”

Harden and many other drivers say the road is a disaster with no lights, no median, and two lanes headed in opposite directions at high speeds making the driving conditions unsafe.

“You got your lane, and you’ve got another lane and there’s really nothing in the middle, nothing in between. I think it’s just two yellow lines and that’s about it,” said resident Rafid Mousa.

“We are working on the road,” said Zachary Burch with the Florida Department of Transportation. He says the department has heard all of the complaints over the years and changes are being made.

“We have projects to widen it to six or four lanes depending on the section,” said Burch.

There will also be a new median to separate traffic, more sidewalks, and bike lanes.

“We believe that our improvements to this road will make it safer,” said Burch.

There are no plans to add any lighting on the road at the moment, however.

“We’re happy to continue looking at whether lighting is necessary after we make these improvements,” said Burch.

The construction will be done in seven phases and will take years to complete. Burch says phase one, near the Lee, Hendry and Collier County lines, will begin in a few weeks.

“I think it’s a great idea, it’s about time. Too many people have died on that road. They should be doing something about it,” said Harden.

The second phase to be completed is the 5-mile stretch from Lee Boulevard to Shawnee Road which will cost around $70 million. Construction on phase two is expected to begin in 2017.

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