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Lee DOT holds workshop on Burnt Store project

By Staff | Sep 25, 2015

The Lee County Department of Transportation and its contractor, Quality Enterprises USA, will begin construction to widen Burnt Store Road from Diplomat Parkway to Van Buren Parkway next month.

In preparation for that, the Lee County DOT held a two-hour public information workshop at the German American Social Club Thursday evening so residents could view the plans for the construction project on the northern end of the roadway, ask questions and make comments to the project team.

More than 60 residents took a look at the first phase of construction, which will extend from Van Buren Boulevard south to Diplomat Parkway, and there was nearly unanimous approval.

And nearly all of them expressed the same reason; it’s safer.

The two-mile project was laid out on a long table as members of the construction team, city officials and County Commissioner Brian Hamman spoke with residents.

“It’s going to be a tremendous improvement for all of Cape Coral not only because it will be easier to get to the interstate but it’s also a lot safer,” Hamman said. “It’s a two-lane road with high speeds now, so it’s pretty dangerous, so it’s good to get the road widened.”

Another benefit is that Burnt Store Road is a designated evacuation route. When completed, the road will allow for a quicker exit out in the event of an emergency, critical when the city is expected to have more than 400,000 residents at buildout.

The project includes a four-lane divided highway with two 11-foot-wide travel lanes in each direction, on-road bicycle lanes, a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the west side and a 10-foot-wide multi-use path will be constructed on the east side of Burnt Store Road. The design speed is 50 mph.

The road will transition to two lanes northbound to Kismet and will be built to the east of the current road, allowing for travel on the original road while the northbound roadway is being built.

Southbound will then be milled and resurfaced, with traffic moved to the northbound side.

This portion of the road is expected to be complete by spring 2017. It is expected to cost $15.3 million, with utility conduits costing $550,000.

The second phase from Tropicana Parkway to Diplomat is set for 2016-17 with an estimate of $4.8 million. The south segment will be the final stage from Tropicana to Pine Island Road, set for 2018-19, which is expected to cost $8.7 million.

County funds will fully pay for the project.

Ultimately, the road will be made into six lanes with a two-lane frontage road.

“The biggest takeaway will be that there won’t be much impact to the regular commute during the project,” said Sarah Clarke, public works program manager for Lee County. “We’ve had almost nothing but positive comments. The people in this area have been involved in this project through the planning and design phases and her happy to see it come to its fruition.”

Clarke said the only negative comment was from a man on the north end who wanted a left-turn lane onto his road. She said they would look into it.

Rita Chaney and her husband, Bill White, from Burnt Store Marina, said they loved the project.

“It’s exciting that we’re going to have more than two lanes. It will be a lot safer. It will make it easier to get out in the event of an emergency,” Chaney said.

Denis Catalano, president of the Northwest Neighborhood Association, agreed.

“Burnt Store is a high-speed, two-lane road and very dangerous. We’ve had people working on this for years and I think they’ve done a good job,” Catalano said.