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Business Observer Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022 4 months ago

County approves $25M in federal funds for $80M bridge project

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Construction on the Big Carlos Pass Bridge is expected to begin this fiscal year.

FORT MYERS — The Lee County Commission has approved an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation for $25 million in federal funds to assist with construction of the Big Carlos Pass Bridge.

Saying replacement of the bridge is a top priority, commissioners approved the project in a Feb. 15 vote. The current bridge is safe for motorists, county officials say in a statement. The plan for the next bridge, officials add, is to “ensure the bridge can be replaced well in time to continue to ensure safety.”

Lee County Department of Transportation plans to start the construction of the Big Carlos Pass Bridge this fiscal year, the release states. Total project costs are an estimated $80.2 million, including a Project Development & Environmental Study, design, construction inspection and construction.

The project dates back to 2016, according to the statement, when Lee County initiated the PD&E Study over the old bridge. As part of that process, DOT conducted numerous presentations and public meetings to review the alternatives with elected officials and other stakeholders, the release adds.

Commissioners approved the recommended 60-foot Vertical Clearance Fixed-Span Bridge alternative Dec. 18, 2018. The fixed-span bridge is less expensive to build and maintain than a movable bridge, say county officials.

The new bridge will be constructed on the Gulf side of the existing bridge, which will remain open during construction. The roadway configuration will include one travel lane in each direction, bicycle lanes, a 6-foot-wide sidewalk along the north side of Estero Boulevard and a 10-foot-wide shared use path along the south side of Estero Boulevard.

For more information about the project, go to BigCarlosBridgeProject.com.

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