Construction on Little Pine Island Bridge continues

Reporter: Jolena Esperto Writer: Nicholas Karsen
Published: Updated:
Little Pine Island Bridge
FILE PHOTO – Little Pine Island Bridge. 4-10-24

If you’re taking a trip to Matlacha this week, you might begin to see some traffic back ups.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, reconstruction of the Little Pine Island Bridge will continue, this time reducing the roads down to one lane.

This is all part of phase one of FDOT’s reconstruction plan.

The full replacement of the bridge will be accomplished in three phases, bringing enhancements to drainage, utilities, and safety. Additional benefits include reinforcing the bridge structure and improving its resilience against future weather conditions.

This project is part one of FDOT’s reconstruction plan, and its timeline was escalated from its original date of 2027 to 2024.

After Hurricane Ian damaged the bridge, the progress of homes and businesses in Matlacha over almost two years has been steady.

Still, with this lane closure, businesses are worried this might affect them going into the peak season.

“People who didn’t see it right after [they] come in, and they’re like, ‘Oh, there’s still houses that aren’t cleaned up. Your road is still being worked on,'” said said Carrie Grainger, Owner of Barnhill Seafood Market & More. “It’s been two years, but we’ve accomplished a lot in two years.”

Some are trying to remain positive through it all.

“That feeling of everyone’s just like sort of getting almost to that point where it’s finally getting back to normal,” said Jason, an avid fisher on Pine Island Bridge. “But if they need to do it and then make it a lot more easier to get by, I don’t see any alternative for it.”

Unless delays occur, the lane closure to and from Matlacha will last until February 2025.

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