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Lee Commissioners confirm design direction for Cape Coral bridge replacement

By Staff | Sep 19, 2023

A pedestrian bridge will be included in the design for the proposed new Cape Coral Bridge with Lee County deciding its design option of choice Tuesday.

The Lee Board of County Commissioners confirmed the consensus direction it reached at a Board workshop earlier this month to advance the Alternate 1 design of the Cape Coral Bridge Replacement Project and incorporate a pedestrian bridge.

Both the Alternate 1 and Alternate 2 designs would modify access to the Caloosa Yacht and Racquet Club, requiring a U-turn movement. Alternate 1 – the design option selected — places the U-turn near the Caloosahatchee River underneath the replaced bridge structure.

It is the most cost effective option, officials said.

Alternate 2 would place the U-turn closer to the Caloosa Yacht and Racquet Club entrance, but it would require the construction of an additional bridge structure.

The Cape Coral Bridge Project is a priority and has been the subject of several Board workshops, including in 2022, early 2023 and – most recently – on Sept. 5, officials said.

Lee County also continues to maintain a no-build option as project development moves forward, which would include only refurbishment of existing structures.

Maintaining a no-build option is a requirement of the Project Development & Environment Study. The project development phase is anticipated to conclude in about a year. The PD&E phase includes further opportunity for public input at a public hearing, which will be followed by a Board vote.

The bridge replacement project is expected to cost an estimated $300 million, with construction set to begin in 2026.

The Cape Coral Bridge was originally a two lane bridge that opened to traffic in 1964 as the sole direct link between Cape Coral and Fort Myers.

The toll was 25 cents and it was removed in 1975.

A parallel span was added to the south side of the existing bridge in the fall of 1989.

“This created a four lane facility with separate east- and westbound lanes,” the Lee County website states.

A toll of 75 cents was imposed to pay the bonds associated with the new facility, and a 10-lane toll facility was opened simultaneously.

The toll was raised to $1 in November of 1993 to allow funds to be accrued to reduce the bonding requirements for the then-planned Midpoint Memorial Bridge.

The Midpoint Memorial Bridge and Toll Facility, an east/west corridor between the Cape and Fort Myers, opened to traffic on Oct. 19, 1997.

Source: Lee County Government