Road work causing conniptions for Caloosahatchee Bridge drivers

Reporter: Asha Patel
Published: Updated:

Heads up, drivers!

Bumper lights galore for anyone driving between Fort Myers and Cape Coral. Get ready to build in more time to your commute.

The U.S. 41 bridge is down to one lane, and it’s going to stay like that for at least two years.

This construction is causing a traffic snowball for other bridges in our area.

An alternate route could possibly go through Cape Coral, but when we spoke with the Cape Coral Police Department, they said that, as of right now, they don’t have any data showing that they’re seeing more traffic because of this construction. However, people we spoke with see it, and they hate it.

“It’s so much inconvenience. It takes so much time. There’s people slamming on their breaks,” a driver said.

Phase 1 of the project intends to make the bridge safer for bikers and pedestrians, but will it be safer for drivers right now?

Some may not think so.

A four-car crash on Caloosahatchee Bridge occurred Friday.

Southbound lanes were shut down for an hour and a half while officers were investigating and cleanup efforts were underway, but an hour and a half is a long time in a traffic jam, especially during rush hour.

“After that crash a gentleman called in to say that his commute was normally 25 minutes, and it doubled as a result of this crash, and that’s unfortunate, and I mean, this is really the first crash we’ve had in the construction process, so this will inform how we operate from this point on,” said Patricia Pichette, Communications Specialist for Florida Department of Transportation.

So you may be thinking well, why don’t people go another way?

“Sometimes it’s not an option when I wanna do some shopping at Harbor Freight,” said Richard McGinnis, a Lee County resident.

And if they go another way…

“I always have to update. I have to check. Sometimes I hit the light, then I’m like, why did I go this way? If I do a U-turn why did I go this way?” a driver said.

This bridge will be down to one lane until December. That’s when phase 1 is expected to be completed. Then, phase 2 will focus on the 8-foot sidewalk.

This project isn’t expected to be done until 2026, so traffic in this area is just going to be the reality. But FDOT understands your frustrations.

They have heard the complaints, so they are going to try and make things better during your commute.

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