Commissioners to prioritize Lee County road projects

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Lee County commissioners are expected to review a list of top priority, largely unfunded road projects Tuesday.

The 21 different projects are short $368 million. The gap in funding comes after the county was forced to cut and delay many road and bridge projects during the recession.

The completion of road projects — many of which seek to address congestion by widening lanes — cannot come fast enough for residents like Maria Perez.

“It’s getting worse and worse, especially in tourist season,” Perez said. “It’s hell on wheels.”

County Commissioner Brian Hamman said he recognizes residents’ frustrations and said they are the reason Tuesday’s meeting will be so important.

“I think you can’t drive anywhere without noticing the increased traffic, especially during season,” Hamman said. “I think that’s a big reason why the board decided to take this topic up.”

Growth increment funding is a way to generate money from the sale of land, Hamman said. Now the county commissioners will focus on choosing which projects need immediate attention.

“This is the first thing on our minds right now. We’ve come up with a new funding mechanism to pay for roads. Now tomorrow we’ll come up with a new ranking system so that we prioritize building the most important roads first,” Hamman said.

As of Monday, an extension of Three Oaks Parkway was the number one priority for commissioners.

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