Road upgrades unveiled in East Naples

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NAPLES, Fla.- A $20 million construction project is bringing major changes to U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard in East Naples.

On Thursday, drivers began enjoying the wider lanes that mark the beginning of an even bigger project as the population of East Naples continues to rise.

“Explosive is the perfect word for it,” said Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala, describing the incredible amount of people and businesses moving into East Naples.

Sam Worley, who opened BurgerFi on U.S. 41 a year and a half ago, says there were only a few businesses then, “they just really had to drive 6,7,8 miles just to find a good place to eat.”

But now, business is booming, “it’s just been phenomenal. We can’t believe after a year and six months how it’s just exploded,” added Worley.

The massive growth is one of the reasons Collier County and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) decided to spend $20 million on improvements to the intersection of U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard. Officials were also concerned because the roads didn’t line up correctly.

“It always looks like the cars are coming right at you, that’s gone,” said Carol Hawkins.

The intersection is now dubbed the ‘gateway to the future.’ It’s expected more than a million people will live in Collier County in the next few decades as growth pushes east.

“I think people are beginning to realize what all we have here and we’re a hidden gem,” said Fiala.


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