ESTERO, Fla.- New on WINK- construction crews will begin work on widening a portion of U.S. 41 in a matter of days. The multi-million dollar project will make a two mile stretch of the road in Estero from four to six lanes.
The state project is aimed at relieving some of the congestion caused when traffic bottlenecks as U.S. 41 goes from 6 down to 4 lanes when entering Estero. But FDOT warns the project is going to require a lot of patience from drivers.
The $14.2 million dollar widening of U.S. 41 starts at San Carlos Blvd and ends at Corkscrew Road. The last piece of the roadway that's still only four lanes wide. Drivers say the project is long overdue, complaining the roadway is dangerously congested.
"I avoid it!" Estero resident Mae Collins said Thursday.
But the 2.5 year job is sure to cause some headaches. Crews will temporarily pave the median and outside edge of southbound lanes and then, shift all four lanes westward...creating a narrow divide between traffic, and construction.
"We understand that construction presents some inconvenience. But because this project has been long awaited and much needed, our business community's been very supportive," said Debbie Tower of the Florida Department of Transportation.
FDOT is working to create marked access points to blocked businesses, and also slowing down drivers by lowering the speed limit from 50 to 40 mph.
"I'm not looking forward to that at all. It's going to make it extremely difficult for us getting in and out of our neighborhood," Collins said.
That's why FDOT say its critical drivers cooperate by slowing down, and staying alert as construction gets underway.
"We don't want to see fender benders that could certainly delay traffic for hours," Towers said Thursday.
The construction project does pass right by the Koreshan State Historic Site. While the road will be widened there, crews are going to build an underground barrier to protect the are during construction. FDOT says drivers will start to see major roadwork at the beginning of February.