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New Matanzas Pass Bridge project will make traveling safer and less congested

Posted at 11:17 PM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 23:17:59-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — New construction plans are now coming to the Fort Myers Beach area along San Carlos Blvd, State Road 865, and the Matanzas Pass Bridge. The Florida Department of Transportation along with city officials say the project will make traveling safer and less congested. The plan includes more traffic signals, sidewalk improvements, plus eliminating the bus only lane and having two main lanes for drivers along with one major addition.

“The biggest thing people will probably notice ultimately, is the new shared use path that we’re going to hang off the side of the Matanzas Pass Bridge. There is not enough room on the bridge itself to widen it or to add new lanes, but what we’re going to be able to do is add one on the side”, said Zac Burch Communications Manager for FDOT District One.

Not only is this good for pedestrian safety, but the flow of traffic as well. Talking with residents and visitors Burch says they came up with solutions to improve the area overall, making safety a number one priority.

“Bicycle and pedestrian crashes were particularly an issue out there, in terms of the number that we saw for an area that size. So making sure that we solve is our number one priority”, said Burch.

The road expansion will also make it safer for commuters.

“So it’s critical that people had a safe way to get on and off the island”, said Burch.

Burch says their goal is to keep attracting visitors not only to Fort Myers Beach but across Southwest Florida.

“Really going to make an improvement, it’s going to make a big difference for people especially those who live on San Carlos Island, that are going onto the big island or on the mainland who are trying to go out there as well, who don’t want to drive, but want to ride their bikes or walk and not contribute to that traffic that’s going down there”, said Burch.

Burch says this project will cost around $6 million and construction is set to begin in the Fall of 2021.