County OKs preliminary design contract for Cape Coral Bridge

Midpoint bridge Cape coral to Fort Myers
Midpoint bridge Cape coral to Fort Myers

County OKs preliminary design contract for Cape Coral Bridge

Construction for $185 million project expected to begin in 2025

Historic image of the Cape Coral Bridge under construction. The original bridge opened as a two-laner in 1964, with the second span built in 1989.

The Lee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously awarded a contract for the preliminary design for the replacement and widening of the Cape Coral Bridge, a projected expected to ultimately cost $185 million.

A contract was awarded to Kisinger Campo & Associates for preliminary design for the replacement of the westbound span of the Cape Coral Parkway bridge and the widening of the eastbound span.

Services to be provided also include a Project Development & Environmental study that could make the project eligible for state or federal grants, as earmarks are again permitted in Congress. County Manager Roger Dejarlais said grant funding would be pursued.

The BOCC also approved a $3.2 million budget transfer from Cape and Midpoint bridge surplus tolls reserves.

At 60 percent completion of design, the county will decide whether to direct the firm to proceed with final design plans to be used to bid for construction or to transition to an owner’s representative and prepare a design criteria package so the project could proceed as a Design-Build approach.

The negotiated amount of the final design approach is $15,604,730 and the negotiated amount of the owner’s representative and design criteria alternative is $15,856,013.

The project’s estimated $185 million cost is to be paid for by surplus toll collections on the bridge.

The project would improve safety on the bridge, improve the traffic flow on and around the bridge, especially during peak times, allow for pedestrians and bicycles, and serve as a replacement for an aging structure, officials said.

The original span opened in 1964, with one lane in both directions. A second span opened in 1989, creating two lanes in each direction.

The design phase is expected to take about 27 months to reach 60 percent, with construction set to begin in 2025. Construction likely will start with the widening of the eastbound span and put all four lanes of traffic there while the westbound lane is demolished and replaced.

The bridge is expected to be completed in 2028.

In the meantime, a new design will be done for the Midpoint Bridge.

Commissioners expect the transition to be close to seamless and that residents will be patient, knowing a new bridge is coming and that much of the work will be done at night.

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