Only one lane will be open on one of the bridges damaged during Hurricane Ian. Starting the first weekend of November, the Florida Department of Transportation will begin working on the entrances at the Sanibel Causeway, leaving a single lane open and FDOT directing traffic.
By the time Ian passed through Southwest Florida, the structure was in ruins.
There is expected to be only one lane of traffic through December, but it won’t be like that every day. Rather, the lanes will be restricted every weekend beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday before ending at 6 a.m. on Monday. The reason is that FDOT is working on the bridge entrances.
While some on Sanibel can’t imagine what traffic will be like, others are happy they have a bridge at all.
All the construction and traffic on the Sanibel Causeway has led Maureen Dowling to say all she can do is stay put inside her Sanibel home.
“To get on and off the island is just– it takes hours, so it’s you come, you just want to stay put, sometimes we’ll get up early, really early, to try to miss the rush of people trying to come on,” said Dowling.
Randy Baker cruises the causeway weekly. He told WINK News he doesn’t mind a little traffic because he remembers the days after Ian when he had to take a boat to get home on this barrier island.
“From time to time, you get a little bit of delay. That’s OK. You know, just take it easy, allow extra time,” said Baker.
But starting the first weekend of November, Baker will be adding even more extra time to his commute.
“I think it’s really pretty remarkable they’re keeping one lane open,” said Baker.
But Maureen is not happy.
“It’s going to be a complete and utter nightmare. I wouldn’t. I don’t think I’ll be back during that time because it just isn’t worth it,” said Dowling.
FDOT says the work should be complete by late 2027.