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Cape Coral studying evacuation times ahead of the 2023 Hurricane Season

Ian Hurricane
Posted at 5:46 PM, Apr 19, 2023

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — We all can think back to September and the evacuation process as Hurricane Ian approached.

Cape Coral city leaders are trying to improve the next major evacuation through a major study. The focus is on the roads and whether improving some of the routes away from Cape Coral could cut down on evacuation times.

The study looks at the 2020 population level as well as projections for 2045.

Under the 2020 levels, the study says 28% of Cape Coral would need to evacuate with a Category 1 hurricane. That would take about 14 hours. For Category 2, that jumps to 36% with a time frame of 15 hours.

Increase that to a Category 5 and the study finds 68% of Cape Coral should evacuate, a process that would take 37 hours.

Under the 2045 population levels, the stronger the storm, the steeper the curve to get out. A Category 1 would take a little longer (from 14 hours to 15 hours), but a Category 5 would go up from 37 hours to more than 76 hours!

The study also looked into Lee County's evacuation times, With a similar theme. For a category 5 storm in 2020, it would take 47 hours to evacuate but, with projected 2045 population levels it would take 88 hours (more than 3 and a half days).

The study also looks at road projects that would help with evacuations, connecting Del Prado to I-75 and also adding lanes to the Midpoint Bridge. The study also looks to make Pine Island its own evacuation zone.

We should know the final results of this study are not expected until May or June.

The Evacuation Route Study's scenario modeling is ongoing, and there are no definitive recommendations to report at this time. The study is an important initiative in considering the future of the City’s transportation infrastructure and safety of residents, both in our own and surrounding communities. Interested individuals should monitor future City Transportation Advisory Commission (CTAC) agendas for updates on study progress.
Laura Dodd, Principle Planner for City of Cape Coral

As hurricane season approaches, this is a good reminder to review your hurricane plan and know your zone.