Design plan is now in place for Cape Coral Bridge renovations

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Cape Coral Bridge
Cape Coral Bridge Credit: WINK News

Lee County expands every year, and that means our infrastructure needs to improve along with the growth. There are finally design plans in place to fix a nearly 60-year-old bridge.

Thousands of people drive across the Cape Coral Bridge every day. And these renovations are supposed to ease traffic. Lee County is gearing up to spend $185 million to enhance, improve and expand the Cape Coral Bridge.

So many of us are familiar with the drive across the Cape Coral Bridge to and from Fort Myers. And, of course, it can be slow going during morning and afternoon rush hour.

If they don’t have to, people who spoke with WINK News say they avoid the route altogether. “I don’t go in the morning, and I don’t go in the evening because it’s too congested,” Stacy Disney said.

Christine Thiel says she sees on WINK how bad the backup can be. “I see it on TV on your station actually, um you know when the bridge gets backed up,” said Thiel. 

In 2021, Lee County says 50,000 cars per day traveled across the Cape Coral Bridge. And, as Southwest Florida continues to grow, that number is only going to increase. So, as leaders prepare for the population of the county to hit one million, they plan to upgrade the bridge.

On Tuesday, Lee County is set to vote on a design contract to replace the westbound portion of the bridge and widen the eastbound span. Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter says he’s all for it.

“I don’t think the two lanes are adequate in today’s population. And the way our city is growing 10 to 15 thousand people a year, I think that even we have to make sure we’re planning for the future,” Gunter said.

Gunter believes that time is precious, so there’s none to be wasted by waiting to start the project. However, the county says construction might not begin until 2026.

So, as long as safety is top of mind, Gunter can wait. a little longer. “It takes so long to construct a bridge we want to make sure that’s an adequate transportation for our residents going over to Fort Myers then back home,” said Mayor Gunter. 

Disney just wants to make sure those working on the project look out for people heading to work. “As long as they do it late at night so people can make it to work and make it home from work,” Disney said.

So, WINK News reporter Zach Oliveri asked what this construction could look like in terms of road closures. A spokesperson told Oliveri that it is premature to think about it since that won’t be discussed until the design phase. But, the county said it would do what it could to lessen inconveniences.

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