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Veterans Memorial Parkway and Santa Barbara Boulevard: Intersection improvement options to be presented

By Staff | Jan 7, 2012

An overpass and at-grade alternatives are among the intersection improvement options under consideration for Veterans Memorial Parkway at Santa Barbara Boulevard in Cape Coral.

The Lee County Department of Transportation will present five concept alternatives and a “no build” choice, to the public on Tuesday, Jan. 10, from 4:30 p.m. -6:30 p.m., at New Hope Baptist Church, 431 Nicholas Parkway.

The public is encouraged to attend anytime during the two-hour session, officials said.

“The public needs to be proactive,” Cape Coral City Councilmember Marty McClain said Friday. “People need to participate now while we’re in the planning stages. Public input is everything on this project.”

The Lee County Project Team will be available to answer questions and take comments regarding the options. The meeting will be held in an open house format. No formal presentation will be given, but the public will be able to view concepts of alternatives being considered to improve the intersection.

Kaye Molnar, president of Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc., who is managing the project, “hope(s) people will attend because it is hard to describe the alternatives on paper as they can be quite complex.”

Molnar believes the visual computer simulations of the five alternatives, which will be on display Tuesday, will help the public grasp the concepts and understand the flow of traffic.

LC DOT initiated this project to design an improvement to the Veterans Parkway and Santa Barbara Boulevard intersection. The project’s intention is to relieve traffic congestion now and through the 2035 design horizon, improve safety, and enhance east-west mobility and hurricane evacuation.

Historically, Veteran’s Parkway has been planned for an overpass, or “flyover.” The project was developed in 1988 when the Metropolitan Planning Organization adopted the 2010 Long Range Transportation Plan. At that time, Veterans Parkway was identified as an expressway with a limited number of access points and overpasses. The roadway was designed in the mid-90s to accommodate a future overpass at Santa Barbara Boulevard.

“Alternatives are being considered but an overpass will not interrupt any of the access points because it was always planned for an overpass,” according to Molnar. “It is possible to choose a no-build alternative, but then alternate routes need to be looked at. We need to consider how we are going to keep things moving as population increases.”

Lee County is evaluating several at-grade build options, the overpass and the no build alternative for the intersection. All alternatives will consider cost, environmental impacts, impacts to businesses, alternative modes of transportation and safety.

A copy of the project newsletter may be obtained on Lee County’s website at www3.leegov.com/publicworks/DOTitle.htm, by clicking on the box at the top of the page. If you would like more information about the project or if you need special accommodations at the workshop, contact Kaye Molnar at Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc.

Following the workshop, the project team will present to the Cape Coral Traffic Advisory Committee. Input received from stakeholders’ meetings, civic group presentations, and the public information workshop will be compiled and presented to the Lee County Board of County Commissioners for final decision early this year.