Can Lee County afford a $200 million Cape Coral Bridge Revamp Project?

Cape coral under the midpoint bridge
Cape coral under the midpoint bridge

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Lee County may currently have $75 million of outstanding debt for three bridges, but officials are still planning to reconstruct the 60-year-old Cape Coral Bridge.

Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman said, “You only have to drive over the bridge once between the hours of 7 am and 9 am to see how many people rely on it every single day to get to work. We need to make sure that we keep the bridges that we do have healthy and in good shape.”

The 2.3-mile bridge serves as a major gateway into Southwest Florida by connecting College Parkway to Cape Coral Parkway.

Hamman mentioned that one of the spans of the Cape Coral Bridge is a lot older than the other.

Officials are looking into two pricey options. The first proposes to rebuild the bridge for $210 million. The other is $20 million less and proposes to rebuild westbound lanes and widen eastbound lanes with an added vessel collision protection system.

RELATED STORY: Lee County discussing options to repair Cape Coral Parkway Bridge

State and federal grants and loans will help cover the cost of the project at first. But right now, the county has $75 million of outstanding debt for three bridges. Come 2027. The county is slated to pay off the Midpoint Bridge with $35 million remaining debt. That same year, the county hopes to begin construction on the Cape Coral Bridge.

“In an effort to make sure you’re charging the right amount of tolls to cover your payments on these loans, you do a toll study to calculate how many cars will go over the bridge, how much will that generate in tolls, will that be enough to make your loan,” he said.

Last year Lee County toll revenue totaled $50.6 million. The Cape Coral Bridge itself collected $16.8 million.

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