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Forget the Caloosahatchee Bridge; you won't have it after Memorial Day

Caloosahtachee Bridge closing for 10 weeks
Caloosahatchee Bridge
Posted at 2:59 PM, May 20, 2024

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Florida Department of Transportation is closing the Caloosahatchee River Bridge for 10 weeks starting on Friday, May 31. FDOT says this is intended to expedite the current construction project.

In an unexpected announcement, FDOT says the bridge will reopen on August 11.

"This closure is intended to expedite the project's completion by up to 18 months and will ensure greater safety for both construction crews and motorists," FDOT said in a statement.

The bridge has been down to one lane going both south and northbound for the $25 million project. They're adding an eight-foot sidewalk on the west side of the bridge going south.

Previously, the plan was to finish the construction in two phases. During phase one, crews would work to remove the overhead sign, replace the bridge deck and remove the existing walls. The second phase would focus on the actual installation of the sidewalk, which will connect to both downtown Fort Myers and North Fort Myers.

The project was expected to be done in Spring 2026, but again, it's said to be expedited with the closure.

Commuters have expressed a range of opinions regarding the closure. One person noted the timing of the project, saying, "This would be the best time. Just nail it out, instead of 18 months and having to deal with it in season.

Another bridge user emphasized the benefits of not driving through work zones, "If they close it for 10 weeks and I don't have to deal with nails in my tires potentially for two years, that saves me money, personally."

Despite the positive outlook from some, other people voiced concerns about the immediate impact on their daily routines.

"If they can guarantee that it only takes 10 weeks and then before they even start, they need to finish the interchange at Fowler and Colonial Boulevard because that's a nightmare," one resident remarked.

FDOT will host a press conference on Tuesday about the decision to close it.