Answers on delayed construction project that is frustrating drivers

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

It feels like the long stretch of Colonial Boulevard between The Forum and Six-Mile Cypress has been under construction forever.

The project comprises several projects, like the diverging diamond interchange at Colonial and 75, the displaced left turn at Colonial and Six-Mile Cypress, and the restricted crossing U-turn near Forum Boulevard.

Now, we’re learning that the project is nearly 10 months behind schedule.

“Awful, horrible and obnoxious,” said Annie Herrenbruck, a Fort Myers resident.

WINK News spoke with Marlena Gore, an interstate construction manager with the Florida Department of Transportation, District 1.

She said things like COVID-19, the freeze in Texas, Hurricane Ian and material and labor shortages have prolonged our battles with this never-ending traffic.

“I absolutely empathize with the traveling public and their frustrations, but you know, construction takes time, and this is an extremely complicated project. We have, you know, three very innovative intersection types that we’re trying to implement under full-traffic conditions,” Gore said.

There were supposed to be financial penalties for the contractor if they could not finish the project on time. However, FDOT gave them a time extension.

That’s more time people will have to wait in long lines or avoid the area entirely.

Gore said these projects, once finished, will help this corridor keep up with the growing traffic, but season is ramping up, and we’ll have to endure one more season before the project is expected to wrap.

“I’m already dreading it, and now, like you said, season [is] coming. It’s going to be even worse,” Herrenbruck said.

This project is now expected to be completed by August 2024.

Gore said the contractor is also impacted by inflation and the rising cost of materials.

However, the project is currently under budget and still in good shape.

To learn more about the project, click here.

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