CAPE CORAL, Fla. – Road construction is getting too close for comfort, say residents who live near Burnt Store Road, and now they want county commissioners to consider erecting a wall.
Construction crews are working to widen the road between Van Buren Parkway and Diplomat Parkway from two lanes to four. Local residents, like Elaine Florio, said their request for a bern is about safety.
“My backyard is on Burnt Store Road,” Florio said. “I could practically reach out and touch that road. I’m going to watch major trucks go past my house and any one of them could go into the back of my house.”
Some residents said they welcome the expansion of the road, but share Florio’s sentiments about safety. For Jason Farri, the construction means faster evacuation in the case of emergencies.
“Listen, that is our evacuation route. I strongly am with building the road and expanding the roads. I think it’s a great thing,” said Cape Coral resident Jason Farri. “I think the biggest concern here is safety of having commercial vehicles end up in people’s swimming pools.”
The road expansion project cost about $50 million, according to Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman. He said adding a berm or concrete wall would require additional funds in the millions of dollars and suggested that it is not a priority.
“It’s really hard to justify having to add another $13 million in project costs to build a berm on this road knowing all the other projects we need to do out there in the county right now,” Hamman said.
A number of residents spoke up at a Lee County commissioner meeting Tuesday to voice their concerns. Florio said she attended and was welcomed back to city commission meeting.
“They were like ‘This isn’t about Burnt Store construction. You have to go to a Cape Coral City meeting,'” Florio said. “They did let everyone get up and have a say.”
Commissioners said plans for the road expansion have been in place for years but safety complaints are just now surfacing. They said they will address residents’ feedback.
The next meeting addressing the construction on Burnt Store Road is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28 at Cape Coral City Hall.
The road expansion on Burnt Store Road will be completed in three phases. Construction between Van Buren Parkway and Diplomat Parkway is expected to end in May 2017.