Port Charlotte community raises $500K to install traffic signal at intersection

For years, people like Joel Cornett fought to have a traffic signal installed on El Jobean Road and Riverwood Drive in Port Charlotte.

Residents at the Riverwood Community Association didn’t want to wait for another person to get hurt. Since Riverwood is a private, gated community and not open to the general public, FDOT cannot install the signal.

“It’s been a long time coming and we’ve certainly needed it,” Cornett said. “We’ve had several injuries and accidents there. ”

In the last three years, 15 crashes happened at the entrance of the community. Eight of those crashes resulted in serious injuries or even death.

The Florida Department of Transportation conducted a signal study several years ago and determined the intersection met the requirements for a signal. The residents or developer then had to hire a contractor that would work with DOT to meet all of the safety and signal requirements.

After FDOT approved the signal, the Riverwood Community passed an assessment on nearly 1,330 homes to raise the $500,000 needed to install the signal.

“It works out to about $450 a home but safety, I mean the the safety part is going to be well worth,” Cornett said.

The traffic signal went online Tuesday — a signal to the community’s commitment to save lives.

“It’s been a long process but we finally got it,” Cornett said. “It’s going to be a good thing for our community.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the approval status of the traffic signal. After a study, FDOT approved the signal to be installed on private property.