Metro Parkway Extension now open
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The long-awaited Metro Parkway Extension is finally here.
"I'm looking forward to Monday coming in and seeing it, I honestly am," said Douglas Rae, the manager of Hurricane Cycle in south Fort Myers.
During its three years of construction, Rae says sales have gone south.
"We've had our driveway shut down twice," explained Rae. "We've lost about 85 percent of our rental business."
The Harley Davidson specialty shop and others along this strip have bore the brunt of being across from where the new road meets U.S. 41.
"[It's been] very difficult to get into here," added Rae. "Then it was impossible to get into here and then it got dangerous to get into here."
Not anymore. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)says the new corridor from Ben C. Pratt/Six Mile Cypress Parkway to U.S. 41 will ease congestion.
"It's going to help alleviate traffic on U.S 41," said Kris Cella, a spokesperson for FDOT. "Currently, U.S. 41 is six lanes and it will always fully be six lanes because of the many businesses that are along that."
And officials say a new signal by the Sandy Parrot will help.
"So, the access is going to be greatly improved there," added Cella.
The $30 million extension should have opened in February. But original contractor Posen Construction was fired for not meeting deadlines and making payments.
A delay nearby mom-and-pop store owners want to put behind them.
"The ones that stuck it out here should be able to see the business pick back up and grow profitable at least rather than just staying even," concluded Rae.
For the next month, crews will be working on landscaping along the roadway.