Upgrades coming to State Road 31 on the heels of multiple fatal crashes

New safety improvements are coming to a dangerous road in Southwest Florida. Charlotte and Lee counties are teaming up with Babcock Ranch to widen State Road 31, where two people have died in just the last few weeks.

State Road 31 near the Charlotte and Lee County borders has become a nightmare to drive on according to Al Mastice, “It’s a bit frightening, and you can get anxiety real quick if you don’t pay attention to high-speed trucks, and your challenged as you drive on the road.”

Officials say more than 6,000 vehicles hit this road every day and 28 percent of that traffic is trucks.

The counties are teaming up to extend the two-lane road to a four lanes.

Gary Herrel, director of the Charlotte County and Punta Gorda Metropolitan Planning Organization, says the quick development of Babcock Ranch is pushing he and his partners to get this project done sooner rather than later.

“If you drive it right now a lot of people say nothing is being done but there is quite a bit of planning being done identifying environmental issues,” Herrel said.

He also says they’re working fast to get a roundabout built at the intersection of SR-31 and County Road 74. Right now it’s a flashing yellow light and stop signs for cross traffic.

Herrel said roundabouts tend to force traffic to slow down without necessarily having to stop.

Mastice is glad to hear it’s one of the top priorities.

Babcock Ranch is going to help with the costs of the road widening project, since a good portion of it is impacted by their rapidly increased population.

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