A source of frustration for many drivers in Lee County will change.
Lee County approved a plan to replace both sides of the Cape Coral Bridge. The goal is to make it easier to get in and out of the city.
People often tell WINK News their horror stories of being stuck in traffic or avoiding it altogether, especially during rush hour, when covering the Cape Coral Bridge. But, optimistically, with the new bridge, that won’t be the case.
“At 4, 5 o’ clock on the other side of it, a good mile and a half traffic jam,” Cape Coral resident, Eric Pearson said.
Cape Coral Bridge traffic. CREDIT: WINK News
“People become more rude. Cutting each other off on there. Again that comes at the end of the day when everyone’s rushing to get home and stuff like that so I understand,” Pearson said.
Lee County Commissioners know it gets bad during commute times and with the area’s population growing constantly, the bridge needs to expand and be built to last. That’s the plan commissioners unanimously approved on Tuesday.
Replace and expand both sides of the Cape Coral Bridge rather than just one side.
“There was a tremendous amount of money we would’ve had to put into an older bridge that only would’ve lasted for another 35 years. If you’re going to spend nearly 200 million dollars, you might as well spend it on a new bridge that’s going to last potentially 75-100 years,” Lee County Commissioner Chair, Brian Hamman, said.
Pearson has lived in the area for 20 years and he’s seen the growth quickly pick up. And he’s happy to hear about the bridge upgrade, but no plan is perfect.
“Unfortunately when that happens it’s kind of like the healing period when they’re doing it what kind of traffic nightmares were going to deal with that,” Pearson said.
Cape Coral Bridge. CREDIT: WINK News
Although, county leaders have taken that into consideration and plan to build one four-lane span first.
“Move everybody over to that four lane new four lane bridge. And then tear down the other two, while they build that second span. And then once that is open, then they’ll make it three lanes on each bridge and open up the bike lanes,” Hamman said.
This will take some time and construction alone won’t begin until 2027 with an expected completion date of 2029.