Long-term repairs to the Sanibel Causeway after Hurricane Ian

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Paul Dolan

Crews are starting the long-term repairs after Hurricane Ian, causing traffic jams in Southwest Florida.

The construction can be seen all around, along with cranes, tools, and the crews doing all the work.

But what is the Florida Department of Transportation actually doing on the Sanibel Causeway?

Kati Sherrard, who was hired to be the lead engineer on the projects, spoke with WINK News about what they’re working on.

“Right here, they are collecting geotechnical data,” Sherrard said.

Construction seen at Sanibel Causeway to make repairs. CREDIT: WINK News

That data will determine how they build the new causeway. Sherrard said once the engineers finish the design, they’ll apply for the permits.

“Once we have permits in hand for those permanent repairs, then you’ll really start to see everything wrap up and that work to begin,” Sherrard said.

Crews prepare for everything, even if another storm hits during the repairs.

“You’ll see cranes throughout the project. And they’re driving what we call steel, steel sheet piles. And those sheet piles are going to provide additional armoring of that temporary work,” Sherrard said. “So that way, if we have rain events and things like that, it doesn’t wash away, and we can keep the roadway stabilized.”

A lot is going on, and even more to do, but in the end, things shouldn’t seem very different from how they were.

“What we’re looking to do here is we’re looking to implement a design measure that will provide for a more resilient approach to the structures in the future,” Sherrard said. “But still, from an aesthetic standpoint, when we’re done at the end of the day, it will look very similar to what you see before.”

Before making those permanent repairs to the temporary Causeway, the federal government and environmental agencies must issue permits.

Sherrard said she didn’t know how long that might take.

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