A big change is coming to Southwest Florida’s largest city. A bridge we drive to get to Cape Coral is receiving much-needed upgrades. In an exclusive, WINK News discovered it is to make room for the 1 million people expected to live in Lee County by 2040.
Lee County is on a mission to improve transportation. One major project is building a new Big Carlos Pass Bridge, but Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass said it’s only the beginning.
“The next bridge coming along here would be the original Cape Coral Bridge expansion will be done in the near future,” Pendergrass said.
With the expected increase in population over the next two decades, that means tolls aren’t going anywhere. Toll prices are expected to stay the same, Pendergrass said.
Forty-two thousand drivers use the Cape Coral Bridge every day, and construction cones will line the bridge soon.
The original bridge going west into Fort Myers will be torn down. This is a bridge Stacey Pavermann drives over every day, and she hopes the county considers one thing.
“As long as they’re going to put more lanes on it to help out with traffic, I’m OK with it because the traffic is terrible,” Pavermann said.
Pendergrass said the projects will help with continued growth. The new bridges will have more pedestrian paths, improved safety and hurricane evacuation features.
Toll booths are expected to accompany the new bridge to pay for the project. Pavermann is originally from New Jersey, where tolls are usually triple the $2 fare.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Pavermann said. “It’s pretty reasonable for the tolls for the bridges down here. I have no problem with it.”
Pendergrass’ main goal with the new development is creating local jobs. He hopes for a project start date sometime in 2027.
“So that people don’t have to drive across the river to come to work or to school,” Pendergrass said. “We want to be able to create more jobs so that people can stay in the community, work and live in those communities.”