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STUCK IN PARADISE | Inching along Estero Boulevard

New signal outside the new Margaritaville Beach Resort as the cars pile up
Posted at 9:59 PM, Jan 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-05 21:59:45-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — As the holiday season draws to a close, residents and visitors on Fort Myers Beach are facing a growing concern, the increasing traffic congestion on Estero Boulevard. Fox 4 was on-site to investigate the issue and speak to frustrated drivers.

"We've been in traffic for an hour and forty-five minutes; this is ridiculous," said one driver.

Other drivers shared similar experiences, with one stating, "A little over an hour and forty-five minutes. We've only gone about 3 miles."

Another driver chimed in, "About 4 miles," and when questioned about the duration, they replied, "About 2 hours."

Some drivers blamed the newly installed traffic light, saying, "One and a half hours, we come from the Hilton here. It's the traffic light definitely."

That possible source of the traffic woes is that light located at the intersection of Estero and Crescent Street, just outside the new Margaritaville Beach Resort. According to Lee County officials, the traffic light is "part of an overall plan to improve the traffic flow on and off the island." They reassure drivers that, eventually, they should see the difference.

To bypass the traffic, motorists have two options. They can head south to Bonita Beach and go around Estero Bay, or they can opt for a more eco-friendly solution by pedaling their way past the traffic.

Yoni Kay, owner of Off the Hook Surf Shop shared, "We saw on the GPS that it was going to take like 30-40 minutes, so I just parked on the side and said let's get on the bike and bicycle right there."

Another visitor noted the issue, saying, "We were on the bus with a family, and a father and small child got off the bus and walked, and they made the same speed we did, so there really is a traffic problem."

The ongoing roadwork is expected to last throughout the year, with two more traffic signals planned along Estero Boulevard—one on each side of the Matanzas Pass Bridge. This marks the end of an era for those who enjoyed a smooth drive from Bonita Beach to the Matanzas Pass Bridge without encountering a traffic light.

When asked how adding more traffic lights would help, especially given the current congestion, the Florida Department of Transportation (F-DOT) explains that these lights are meant to control the flow of traffic, especially during the busy season when traffic is exceptionally heavy.

For more information on the San Carlos Blvd project visit:
https://www.swflroads.com/project/433726-2