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CRA board: No tunnel for downtown

By Staff | Jul 19, 2011

Connecting the Rubican Canal to the Bimini Basin might still one day be a reality, but drivers will likely go over the proposed canal instead of under it after the option to build a tunnel along Cape Coral Parkway was nixed by Community Redevelopment Agency Board members.

Deemed too expensive, and to some degree unrealistic, by the board, the tunnel was one of three options proposed by CRA summer intern Chandler French to keep traffic flowing along the parkway should the canal be constructed.

A bridge that spanned the canal, or a draw bridge, became the more financially feasible option and proved less of an impact during the construction phase.

“It’s by far the most expensive option,” French said of the tunnel proposal.

CRA Board member and Leapin’ Lizard owner Jack Evans said the draw bridge concept might impede traffic too greatly. And, like French, though the most feasible option should be the one that impacts the CRA in the least.

“It needs to be feasible so we can afford it and get it done,” Evans said.

It’s still unknown when, and if, the CRA would move forward with connecting the canal to the basin but the project was identified as part of the CRA’s newly designed vision plan, along with the sunning beach at Four Freedoms Park.

CRA Chairman Don Heisler said the property owners along the Rubican Canal would not be very likely to take large boats through the connection and the bridge that would eventually span Cape Coral Parkway would just need to be high enough to accommodate the boats people do have, maybe 11 – 15 feet high.

“I doubt they will run out tomorrow and buy large vessels,” Heisler said. “The middle of the road might get us what we want … you’re not likely to put a large vessel up the Rubican Canal too far, anyway.”