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Fort Myers Beach to try and unclog traffic jams with $13 million project

Posted at 10:05 PM, Feb 01, 2024

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — In a move to improve the notorious traffic on Estero Island, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) joined forces with Lee County to bring improvements to the busiest intersection on the island, located between 5th and Crescent Street.

The project aims to introduce a new traffic light to streamline the flow of vehicles and enhance the efficiency and safety of the intersection.

The town of Fort Myers Beach has recently hired an LCSO traffic controller as a short-term fix. Howeverthe FDOT project represents a long-term solution designed to address the core issues of the traffic buildup, particularly around the bustling Times Square area.

Chris Speese, the Project Manager for FDOT, detailed the plan to connect the intelligent transportation system network onto the island.

"This upgrade will enable signals to better communicate with each other, significantly improving the efficiency of the Fifth Street and the San Carlos Boulevard intersection," Speese explained.

The project's scope also includes the expansion of the pedestrian path across the Matanzas Pass Bridge and the opening of a second lane currently designated for buses only.

With a total project cost of around $13 million, the enhancements are eagerly anticipated by the people who live on the island. Allen Schanosky pointed out that the lack of amenities rebuilt on the beach has forced residents to leave the island daily for necessities, contributing to the congestion.

"Every resident who used to get gas or do whatever they had to do here on the island, now has to leave the island every day," Schanosky observed.

The goal of the project, according to Speese, is to improve safety and to enhance the operating efficiency of the corridor. Despite the promise of long-term benefits, FDOT has cautioned that residents should expect some delays once work begins in May. The work is projected to continue for 18 months, with completion targeted for November 2025.