Signs no help for Caloosahatchee Bridge closures

Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Multimillion-dollar signs that could help drivers navigate around this week’s nightly closures of the Caloosahatchee Bridge aren’t working.

The yellow signs labeled “Alternate Bridge Route” around downtown cost the Florida Department of Transportation $5.5 million to install several years ago, but they’ve never functioned. The Department of Transportation recently invested $250,000 on a fix, but the project wasn’t finished in time.

The closures on the bridge, which carries U.S. 41 over the Caloosahatchee River between Fort Myers and North Fort Myers, run from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night through Friday as crews install overhead signs.

The repairs to the existing signs were just finished in the last few days, but that didn’t allow FDOT a chance to properly test them, according to department official Zac Burch.

“We want to make sure we get it right,” Burch said. “We’d rather not put up something than put up something wrong.”

Other signs will warn drivers that the bridge is closed this week. But the point of the signs that aren’t working was to help those drivers find their way to the other bridge, which the other signs won’t do.

The Edison Bridge carries Business U.S. 41 over the river about a half-mile to the east of the Caloosahatchee Bridge. But getting from one bridge to the other can be a chore. On the south side of the river, it means navigating narrow streets, some of which are only one way.

That’s not an issue for Southwest Floridians who drive around the area everyday. But tourists and snowbirds might not find it so easy.

All the while, signs designed to help remain a source of confusion.

“We have no clue, no clue,” driver Cliff McCue said. “Which means it’s going to be a mess.”

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.