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City to look at widening Cape Coral Parkway

By Staff | Apr 18, 2009

A proposal to widen Cape Coral Parkway from four lanes to six is the largest and most expensive of a series of traffic improvements in the downtown area slated to cost a total $3.4 million being eyed by the city.
Preliminary estimates by city staffers put the cost of the project at $2.7 million, and other traffic improvements involving the installation or removal of stop lights are estimated to cost $705,000.
Because Lee County maintains Del Prado Boulevard and the section of Cape Coral Parkway east of Del Prado, the city wants the county to help pay for some of the costs.
“Our hope would be that we would talk to them and get them to provide some of the funding,” Cape Coral transportation manager Steve Neff said.
The improvements have been coveted by the Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency for at least two years, and sync up with their plan to become a Traffic Concurrency Exception Area.
Under the TCEA, developers are exempt from paying upfront for road improvements for related to increased use from the building.
“It mitigates (developers’) responsibility. It allows the development to occur and start collecting the tax dollars on the building to go back and make the road improvements,” CRA Executive Director John Jacobsen said.
But the widening of Cape Coral Parkway is something CRA board members want to happen regardless of the area’s TCEA status.
“The TCEA is something that could take a long time, this is something that’s on the front burner,” CRA boardmember Don Heisler said.
Improving the road would not only smooth out the traffic, but also the ride itself, he added.
“The citizens are probably mad at us because of the shape (Cape Coral Parkway) is in. The front fenders on my Corvette go bangety, bangety, bangety every time I go down there,” Heisler said.
CRA boardmembers passed the text and map of the TCEA, to be included in the city’s comprehensive plan. The City Council will address the matter May 20. If approved by council members, the proposal will head to Florida’s Department of Community Affairs.
Neff said the money for the road improvements, which comes from road impact fees and gas taxes, is budgeted for this year.
“It’s available currently,” Neff said.
Getting financial help from the county, though, could be tricky. Lee County recently spent about $700,000 adding an extra left turn lane to the Cape Coral Parkway-Del Prado Boulevard intersection.