The Lee Co. Metropolitan Planning Organization did not kill the Colonial Fly-over project. But it didn't exactly endorse it either at a long and heated meeting on Friday afternoon. The issue seems to be at an impasse, with road planners scrambling to find another solution to crowded Colonial.
"I believe we made our points and the planners are going to have to find something that does not ruin our businesses along that boulevard in Fort Myers," said Ft. Myers Councilman Tom Leonardo. "This plan is not going to cut it. We have to do better."
The project would put a series of fly-overs at crowded intersections along Colonial, from I-75 to near the Midpoint bridge. Some in Cape Coral have favored the elevated expressway, to be paid for by tolls, because it would speed traffic to and from the cape.
However, business owners like Lou Fine believe the project would cause drivers to stay on the roadway, and not get off to visit stores and restaurants. Not to mention the years of construction.
"It would ruin my business," says restaurant owner Fine. "We'd be gone well before the project was built."
Lee County transportation planner Dave Loveland says Colonial is failing now. "Several intersections are rated F, and that is not acceptable. Something has to be done," he told WINK.
Cape councilman Kevin McGrail suggested that planners try to find another way to improve Colonial, without potentially hurting businesses along the boulevard. "If we have to go to Plan C, then let's do it. This is not something that will start building tomorrow. Not hardly. It is years away at the earliest. So we have time to get it right," he told WINK.
Final approval of any project rests with the Lee County Board of Commissioners.