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Commissioners to review Cape bridge renovation plans

$185M project includes safety improvements, cosmetic changes
Posted at 7:19 AM, May 17, 2022

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Lee County commissioners on Tuesday will review proposed design changes to the Cape Coral bridge.

A consortium including Kisinger Campo & Associates, AIM Engineering & Surveying, and Johnson Engineering have proposed safety and cosmetic improvements that include replacing the westbound span of the bridge, widening the eastbound, and adding scenic overlooks and pedestrian areas.

A total of 2.3 miles of the roadway would be affected, beginning at the intersection of Del Prado Blvd. and Cape Coral Pkwy., ending at the intersection of College Pkwy. and McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers.

The project is divided into six sections; lanes and intersections on either side of the bridge (sections 1 & 6) would be reconfigured to allow more vehicle capacity, and crosswalks added at all approaches.

Section 2, Cape Coral Pkwy. W, would address a constrained right-of-way and lack of pedestrian and bicycle accommodations.

Section 3 would see landscaping opportunities, a multi-use trail and seawall construction at Bernice Braden Park. A pedestrian bridge is suggested in this section but is "not currently included in the scope of services," and would cost an additional $1.8 million, according to the full presentation slideshow [PDF].

Section 4 addressed the bridges over the Caloosahatchee River, proposing a full replacement of the westbound span, which is designated "functionally obsolete." The eastbound bridge is in "very good condition," with widening the main proposal for improvement.

The College Pkwy. area, Section 5, suggests two options for the toll plaza: repurposing the existing building or completely removing it. An automated toll gantry would be installed in the same area.

Perhaps the most impressive cosmetic change to the bridge would be the addition of a scenic overlook on both bridges. Comprised of concrete, aluminum and stainless steel, the architects pledge the overlooks would be a "low-cost focal point" with aesthetic lighting. The overlooks would be ideal, they suggest, for community events such as Red, White & Boom.

If approved, a preliminary design and development would take about two years to complete. Final design, a further 21 months. Construction would take an estimated three years to fully realize.

The engineer's sample timetable would estimate the project to be completed by January 2030.