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Lee DOT plans to look at other options for Southeast 47th Terrace and Del Prado

By Staff | Jun 15, 2011

Lee County Transportation staff has vowed to reassess Southeast 47th Terrace and Del Prado Boulevard to find out if there are any other options than completely reconfiguring the intersection by closing cross traffic and left hand turns.

The proposal angered residents and business owners within the vicinity of that intersection, who said the change would not only have negative impacts on their customer base but the entire way of life of those who live and work in that area.

Lee DOT Construction Manager Randy Cerchie said he planned to discuss the matter with county engineers but couldn’t name what specific options would be available. He added that it might a combination of ideas to help offset traffic concerns.

A county traffic study showed that 50 right turn crashes occurred at that intersection – on the east side of Del Prado – between 2007 – 2010, more than the intersection of Daniels Parkway and US 41, which is considered to be the most dangerous intersection in all of Lee County.

Proposed changes would have eliminated everything except the right hand turn. Traffic lights at Southeast 47th Terrace and Southeast 46th Street would have been relocated to Southeast 46th Lane and Southeast 44th St, according to the same proposal.

Robert Locker from Harborside Villas thought the entire proposal to be flawed. He thought moving the lights would likely cause similar traffic issues two blocks north, too.

“We wish everyone would step back and take a look at everything that’s going to be affected in that quadrant,” he said.

Bennett Agranove, who has owned Carriage Cleaners at that intersection for 28 years, doubted his customers would adjust well to the traffic changes at the intersection.

“If I was my customer I wouldn’t want to go through all those traffic changes,” he said.

Community Redevelopment Agency Executive Director John Jacobsen said the traffic changes were never a CRA initiative, as the agency does not set policy, especially on a county road. Del Prado falls under Lee’s domain.

CRA Board member Rich Greer stressed that the traffic change was about safety. Greer also said he knew someone that was seriously injured in a crash at that intersection.

“I’m all for business but if we put business above life and injury, I’m not for that,” he said.

Cerchie said he did not know how long it would take to come up with other options for the intersection.

Attorney Mark Horowitz, who works for a law firm just steps from where the proposed changes were to occur, said he hoped the county followed through on its promise to take a look at other options.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said. “I have no reason not to take them at their word.”