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One-way toll plaza redesign moving forward

By Staff | Dec 9, 2008

Plans to modify the existing toll plazas at the Cape and Midpoint Memorial bridges from two-way to one-way are moving forward, according to county staffers.
The new design is the seventh change order to plans that began years ago when the plans for a new plaza at the Sanibel Bridge was announced.
The change order — at a cost of $531,795,10 — was balked at by Commissioners Brian Bigelow and Frank Mann.
Mann said that he “didn’t even know what the project is,” and wondered why better planning was not utilized when changes to the plaza were originally approved.
Bigelow voiced his concern for money spent on change orders.
“We need to be mindful of spending,” Bigelow said.
Deputy Director of Transportation Paul Wingard said it is crucial the county “shouldn’t reinvent the wheel” when comes to the design phase of the project, making it vital to stick with the existing design firm, URS Corporation Southern.
The project’s total cost comes in at an estimated $10 million, a price tag that does not include the various change orders.
Wingard acknowledged money had been lost during the design phase, but said the county will ultimately save upward of $1 million per year in operating costs with the advent of one-way tolls.
Then there are the savings passed on to motorists who would spend less in gas, and the environment which would benefit as well.
“There’s savings of gas to the motorist and the reduction of carbon emissions is just phenomenal,” Wingard said. “There’s cost savings and it’s a good green project.”
The motion passed unanimously among commissioners to approve the cost of the change order.
The move to redesign the toll plazas at both Cape bridges comes on the heals of a decision made in June by commissioners to keep tolls one-way on both bridges.
There is no start date announced for the construction of one-way toll plazas.