FDOT to start work on ‘Diverging Diamond’ project in Fort Myers

Reporter: Andrea Guerrero Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
I-75 and state road 82

A major road construction project could change how long it takes you to get to work in Fort Myers. The Florida Department of Transportation is going to begin work on the “Diverging Diamond Interchange Project” starting at Colonial Boulevard and I-75.

On weekends, traffic on Colonial and further north on State Road 82 near MLK Boulevard is pretty calm and not too bad. But, during the week, traffic does not flow like that. And, a new construction project is beginning Monday.

Marcella Holloway drives through this area to get to work. “It’s hectic, especially in the morning there’s always like a bottleneck,” Holloway said.

Ariel Aviles also works nearby. “Expect a lot more traffic, a lot more build up with the whole construction process,” said Aviles.

Both Holloway and Aviles drive through this area every day for work and now they may have to add another 20 to 30 minutes to their commute.

“It’s all going to come together at a stop and at a standstill, so I think it’s going to be really rough on people who work downtown or even going the other direction,” Holloway said.

The project is going to cost upwards of $52.7 million. The biggest thing to note is that I-75 will be widened to add an auxiliary lane in each direction from Colonial to MLK Boulevard. At each exit, emergency stopping sites will be added.

FDOT says this project is supposed to help traffic flow and make the area safer, especially in the case of an emergency evacuation in Lee County.

The biggest concern, however, is that exits of I-75 like the one that leads to State Road 82 could become more dangerous.

“We’re going to get more anxious, people are going to start having more accidents. I find it a hazard,” said Holloway.

“Accidents are probably going to be happening more often, so just have to be more aware,” Aviles said.

This project became a necessity after a 24% increase in population in Lee County. This project is set to be completed by 2024.

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