FORT MYERS – The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to ask the Florida Department of Transportation to incorporate a full replacement of the Little Pine Island Bridge as a part of the permanent repairs to Pine Island Road through Matlacha, which expedites the bridge construction and makes it more resilient to future storms as soon as possible.
The bridge construction is slated for after Easter in April 2024. Prior to that, intermittent necessary work that will increase resiliency will happen in the vicinity of the bridge from late spring through fall. Motorists may experience temporary one-lane traffic. Digital message boards and the Roadwatch Update, www.leegov.com/dot/roadwatchupdate, will be updated in advance of the work.
When bridge construction begins, this will involve full-time one-lane travel, as the north side of the bridge is rebuilt to include a shared-use path. Then, two-way traffic will be restored as traffic will shift to the rebuilt north side of the bridge and new path as the south side is rebuilt. One-lane traffic flow will be maintained by a temporary traffic signal.
The county understands that construction will be inconvenient and that motorists will experience delays. The work is necessary due to the severe damage to the bridge caused by Hurricane Ian on Sept. 28, 2022. This includes significant soil loss as well as loss of the seawalls and the bridge approach slabs.
The Florida Department of Transportation made emergency, temporary repairs to the bridge that allowed it to reopen just five days after Ian’s landfall. Lee County remains grateful for FDOT’s assistance and now for the state’s partnership with these permanent repairs to make the bridge more resilient to future storms.
It is important to note that pedestrians and bicyclists are not permitted in the construction zone and there will be noise from construction equipment in the area. Along with the expected delays, motorists should use caution and watch for workers and construction vehicles.
Lee County is committed to communicating with the Greater Pine Island residents to keep everyone aware of the work as they travel on and off the island for work, school, medical appointments and other needs.
The Matlacha Bridge will not be impacted by the work.
FDOT has a Little Pine Island Bridge project hotline at 239-214-3364. E-mail inquiries can be sent to PineIslandInfo@qcausa.com and project information is available at www.swflroads.com/project/451937-2.
In addition to the Little Pine Island Bridge-area work, FDOT crews currently are working on the east side of Matlacha on the segment of Pine Island Road that Ian washed out.
Digital message boards are already in place, and traffic may be restricted intermittently on and off Pine Island to a single lane, alternating direction of travel, as work crews install temporary asphalt and a lowprofile barrier. Flaggers will be used as necessary to increase safety; motorists are asked to use caution.
For non-bridge related Matlacha questions, the Greater Pine Island residents can email the county at RestoreMatlacha@leegov.com. Additional post-hurricane updates and resources are available at www.leegov.com/storm and https://ianprogress.leegov.com.