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FDOT holds input session on Pine Island Road/Hibiscus Drive project

By CHUCK BALLARO - | May 4, 2021

Interest, and input, in proposed safety improvements to the intersection at Pine Island Road and Hibiscus Drive in Cape Coral provided to be much lighter than officials hoped Thursday night.

Beside the five-member project team, there was one city employee, two members of the city’s transportation staff and one resident attending the informational open house at City Hall. Three others joined in online.

The public input session is standard for traffic improvements and projects such as this. In this case, residents got to look at what is proposed for that intersection before the formal hearing and provide their public comments after Florida Department of Transportation staff gave their presentation. Interested parties can continue to provide input until Sunday.

The proposed project design will add a temporary median on Pine Island Road. The median will include directional openings to maintain left turn movements from eastbound and westbound Pine Island Road onto Hibiscus Drive.

Left turns will no longer be an option from northbound and southbound Hibiscus Drive. By eliminating left-turn movements from Hibiscus Drive, the directionalized median will reduce the frequency of angle and left turn crashes, the FDOT report said.

Between 2014 and 2018, there were 58 incidents at that intersection, resulting in 34 injuries and 25 incidents of property damage, according to the report. There were no fatalities.

According to the FDOT report, crashes involving vehicles from side streets have led to safety concerns at the intersection of Pine Island Road and Hibiscus Drive. Directional median openings are recommended to prevent future crashes.

The current speed limit on that section of Pine Island Road is 55 mph.

The design phase has already gotten started. The installation of the temporary median is set for the fall. The cost is expected to be about $14,687.

Residents had numerous options on how to attend the meeting; either in-person at Cape Coral City Hall (1015 Cultural Park Blvd, Cape Coral), online via GoToWebinar, and over the phone.

A recording of the public hearing presentation and public comments, as well as project exhibits, was expected to be made available online at www.SWFLRoads.com/SR78atHibiscus.

Leanna Schaill, Access Management Manager for the FDOT, said there was a transcript of the hearing available, but audio was not available by deadline.

Comments received by or postmarked to the FDOT Project Manager by May 9 will be included in the public record (FDOT Project Manager Leanna Schaill, 801 N Broadway Ave., Bartow, FL, 33830, Leanna.Schaill@dot.state.fl.us or 863-519-2244.