CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Cape Coral is determined to become a destination city, but getting there could be a long road. Depending on where you start from, it takes at least a half an hour to get to the Cape from I-75.
But we learned today about a proposed interchange that would lead through the intersection of Del Prado Boulevard North and US 41.
Cape Coral residents recognize it can be quite the drive to get to and from I-75. "People that come to visit me do say it's a long way out here!!" said Cape Coral resident Sandy Manning.
From the interstate you can get to Cape Coral from Charlotte County, North Fort Myers, or Fort Myers.
But councilman Kevin McGrail says this isn't good, especially with the opening of new VA Clinic next month. "The fact that we have the distance we have from the interstate has hurt the city of Cape Coral and its ability to brand itself as a destination," McGrail said.
He's pushing for a new interchange that would give direct access. It would start at Del Prado Boulevard North and connect with I-75 near Slater Road. The proposed road would intersect with Mellow Drive and funnel cars down Del Prado Boulevard North.
The land it cuts through is Lee County Conservation 20/20 preserve.
The county has money set aside to do a special study here next year. "They have funded the need for this interchange, its called a feasibility study, they'll be counting the cars," McGrail explained.
The project is in Lee County's 2030 long range vision plan, but McGrail says he hopes to push that plan through to get the project accomplished at an earlier date to benefit the city.
The faster we can get people in and out of the Cape, the more people we can get here and get out of here its just going to be a benefit to the city," said Ed Eckel.
McGrail also wants to add more signs on the interstate that point to Cape Coral. He says often, visitors don't know they are near the city until they almost drive past it.