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Del Prado widening set to begin

By Staff | Jan 6, 2009

A road widening project expanding Del Prado Boulevard from four lanes to six from Pine Island Road north to Kismet Parkway will begin within the next 30 days, according to officials at Balfour Beatty, the company in charge of the project.
The expansion is the fifth and final phase of a road improvement project in the area that included the construction of five bridges. Construction on the bridges was completed in November, and city council members approved part of the final phase in December.
“The heavy stuff will begin in the next 30 days. We’ll start the preliminary clearing,” said Gary Vargas, program manager for Balfour Beatty.
Half of the widening project, from Kismet south to Diplomat Parkway, will cost $11 million. The other half, from Diplomat south to Pine Island, is yet to be formally approved by the city council, but is expected to cost a similar amount.
Vargas spoke Tuesday during a meeting with residents affected by the project.
“This is just to let all the residents know what we’re up to,” Vargas said.
Cape Coral Civil Engineer Christopher Camp said the overall project was initiated in 2002, when traffic studies showed a burgeoning population would clog the road in the coming years.
A study by Johnson Engineers then predicted 19,000 vehicles would pass by that stretch of Del Prado on a daily basis by 2006, and that number would rise to 49,000 by 2026.
Camp admitted that those numbers were likely inflated by Cape Coral’s population boom in the middle of the decade and the actual numbers are probably much less as a result of the bursting of the housing bubble, but he said the expansion is still needed.
“The increase (in vehicles) will be more normal now. We’re still full steam ahead. Eventually there’ll be the rebound,” Camp said.
While berms and other methods of noise reduction will be used to mitigate the disturbance to nearby residents, not all residents are happy with the expansion.
“My major concern here is the (flatbed) trucks that come over at six o’clock in the morning and slam when they hit a bump,” said Peter Hobyl.
Hobyl, a 14-year resident of a house located on the corner of Del Prado and 11th Terrace, said the early morning road work will wake him prematurely because he does not get off work until late in the evening.
City officials are warning drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists to use extreme caution when traveling through the construction zone.