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$26.8 million awarded for road project to address Lee County growth

With the population in Lee expected to top 1 million in less than 30 years, the county is looking to ease congestion.

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Lee County commissioners unanimously approved the contract for a $26.8 million road project May 16 aimed at easing congestion as the county's population continues to grow.

According to the county, the project includes the construction of a four-lane arterial extension from the north end of Three Oaks Parkway north about 2.5 miles. It also includes a new bridge crossing over the Fiddlesticks canal, two on-road bike lanes, concrete sidewalks, street lighting, utility relocations and “related improvements.”

Work on the fully funded project is expected to begin next month.

This project, the county says, is the first phase of a larger effort to “improve road network connectivity, multi-modal transportation alternatives and provide critical congestion relief to Interstate 75, Treeline Avenue/Ben Hill Griffin Parkway, State Road 739 (Metro Parkway) and Alico Road.”

The second phase of the project will extend Three Oaks to Daniels Parkway which will be widened to eight lanes from east of Pinto Lane to the I7-5 interchange. This phase of the project is expected to start construction in 2025 and all the work should be finished by 2027.

County commissioners voted Tuesday to award the contract for the project to Wright Construction Group without comment from the public or from anyone on the dais.  

Government boards across the state are racing to address the impact of a population explosion that is creating headaches and placing a burden on infrastructure as well housing, schools and public safety.

According to data released in April by Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Lee’s population grew 5.4% in 2022 to 802,178. It’s expected to grow to 852,471 by 2025 and to reach 1 million soon after 2035.

To understand how much the county has grown, though, all one has to do is look at Lee’s population in 2000, 440,888. It was 205,266 in 1980.



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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