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FDOT: Lee slated for road projects

By Staff | Feb 12, 2011

The Florida Department of Transportation has $1.3 billion worth of projects slated for Southwest Florida over the next five years, several of which will provide much needed jobs in Lee County.
District One Secretary Stan Cann said the projects include efforts such as resurfacing, design and right-of-way acquisition, but a couple high profile — and long over due — projects will be completed within that time frame.
With a funding mechanism already in place, Cann said the widening of Burnt Store Road through both Lee and Charlotte Counties is a done deal by 2016.
Lee County and the FDOT plan on sharing the financial burden of the widening project, Cann said, and a similar arrangement is being worked out in Charlotte County.
A new “connection” on I-75 to Southwest Florida International Airport is a high dollar effort that likely will provide a good chunk of jobs, according to Cann, costing over $108 million.
“We’ve got a real good program, more than we’ve had in the last five years,” Cann said. “It’s not because we have more money, but we’re able to build more projects with the same amount of money. The job situation will be helped with a program like this.”
Lower construction costs costs led Cann to add another project to the slate. The widening of the Caloosahatchee Bridge over I-75 is now slated to be completed by 2014, at a price tag of $120 million.
Cann described the project as a “big chunk” of the funds eyed for Lee County, one that could employ a high number of local contractors and subs.
Cape Coral Construction Industry President Jeremy Johnson said a lot of the projects are overdue in the area, but the level of funding headed for Lee County will be a huge boost for the industry.
He said the CCCIA is planning on setting up a seminar for its members to learn the FDOT bidding process. Contractors must be on a pre-approved FDOT list before they even are allowed to bid.
Johnson also thinks local bidders will have an advantage over those outside of Lee County, or Florida.
“We have the edge because we have the local knowledge, we have the affordable workforce,” Johnson added. “And companies based in Cape Coral have just as good a chance as another of those other companies.”
Balfour-Beatty, Kraft Construction and Wright Construction are putting together to seminar to help educate CCCIA members on how to navigate the application process.
Johnson said the seminar is another benefit of a CCCIA membership.
“We really want to show companies the value and power of our membership. There’s always someone there willing to lend a hand,” Johnson said.