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County considering other plan for Del Prado/Southeast 47th Terrace intersection

By Staff | Dec 14, 2011

Lee County traffic officials were planning to shut down the intersection at Southeast 47th Terrace and Del Prado Boulevard, until business owners on the east side of the intersection declared it would make access to their properties nearly impossible.

The county now wants to shut down the left hand turn onto Southeast 47th Terrace from the southbound Del Prado lanes, a move officials say will curb accidents at one of the most dangerous intersections in Lee County.

Bennett Agranove, long-time owner of Carriage Cleaners, said the county hasn’t solved the problem, it’s only made it worse.

“They’re creating a danger by cutting that left-hand turn off,” he said. “It’s the stupidest thing they could have done. It’s only going to create more accidents, more congestion and more traffic problems.”

Agranove was one of dozens of business owners along that section of Southeast 47th Terrace that were against the idea of shutting down the intersection completely.

This new idea, like the previous, relies on the use of left-hand turns on Southeast 47th Street for access to those businesses, and the post office branch, that sit along that corridor.

Agranove thinks the only solution is to put a left turn signal at Southeast 47th Terrace and Del Prado. Anything else, he said, will just prolong the problem.

“It’s definitely not viable,” he said of the closure of the left-hand turn lane. “We have a lot of customers traveling south on Del Prado and a left turn light is what they need.”

Lee County traffic officials also plan on slowing down traffic along that section of Del Prado, from 45 mph now to 35 mph.

They plan on studying these changes over the course of three years, after which they will revisit the issue to see if any other action is warranted.

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz, who sits on the city’s Transportation Advisory Committee, said the county needs to install signs so motorists will now see the left-hand turns had been removed. He also thought the closure of the left turn lane was a better option than closing the intersection entirely.

Like Chulakes-Leetz, Councilmember Kevin McGrail thought the county’s new approach was better than the last.

McGrail also sits on the Transportation Advisory Committee.

“I think they’ve recognized the concerns of the business community,” McGrail said. “Slowing down the traffic is a good step.”