LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Lee County transportation officials focused on sidewalks, bridges, and road repairs for its annual Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting.
One of the bigger projects that were discussed was a $1.7 million expansion of US-41, which adds lanes and reconstructs a nearly three-mile stretch to Bonita Beach Road.
“This project is a conglomeration between FDOT and the locals," says H. Wayne Gaither, the Southwest Office Director for the Florida Department of Transportation.
Gaither says that any project looked at by FDOT must consider how people - whether they're pedestrians or in cars, can move through a construction area.
“At that point, we will work out a method to keep traffic flowing while we’re doing construction and minimizing the impact to drivers while maximizing the safety throughout the construction area," says Gaither.
But not everyone is on board with plans for more construction along 41. Romula Contra, the Assistant Manager at US-41 Tires and Auto, says he's been vocal about construction already happening in front of the auto shop.
“It’s been a complete nightmare since day one. I’ve been in Florida for about a year now, and I don’t recall this road being in any other state than complete chaos," says Contra.
“It’s on a weekly basis that they come back with the big machinery - they say they forgot to dig something. It’s always something new on the same spot. So there isn’t really any progress on their work," he adds.
Gaither says feedback like that will serve as a jumping-off point for FDOT as the road's current expansion project continues to take shape.
“Information that we’ve gathered will be discussion points that we continue to have with the local communities, that will find its way into our final study which will then move into the next phases of the project," says Gaither.