Published: May 16, 2013 5:37 PM EDT
Updated: May 16, 2013 5:41 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A WINK News exclusive. Age is taking its toll on a landmark southwest Florida bridge. The Cape Coral bridge was built in the early 60s. And Lee County says it has 15 years left before the westbound lanes need to be replaced.

"The Cape Coral bridge was the one of the original connections between the Cape Coral side of the river and the Fort Myers side of the river," said Lee DOT Director David Loveland.

A piece of history is in need of a major makeover.  Age, weather, and seawater are chipping away at the Cape Coral bridge.

The bridge has a lifespan of 70 to 75 years. And in 15 years, Loveland says it will be more cost effective to replace the entire westbound section, instead of paying for costly repairs.

"This is something that's off in the future but this is something we need to start planning for now," he said.

The project has a projected $75 million price tag. And we've learned the county may have to borrow money to pay for it.

Other methods of payment is your bridge toll money. 

"There's a lot of issues that a lot of people don't know about and you know the citizens are going to be hit hard with this if they can't find the money to repair the bridge," said Lee County resident Jim Zonta.

"It seems like an awful lot of money but then again it's a bridge that we use constantly so we have to keep people safe," said Lee Count resident Carol Latino.

"We saw in Minneapolis with that happen, when you don't do what the experts tell you to do so I think I would be in favor of building the bridge rather than just maintaining," said Marlene Laskey.

These bridges are inspected on a regular basis, and the county makes repairs when necessary.
A special fund will be set up to eventually pay for this.

The county says the bridge is completely safe right now, and that it's simply planning for the future.