FDOT project aims to make improvements to Charlotte County bridges

Hurricanes, erosion, high winds; our bridges take on what nature throws at them every day. But how much can they take before they start breaking down?

The state is trying to get ahead of that, particularly the bridges on US-41.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, some of our bridges have a lifespan of 50 years, so there are still some that need to be replaced.

Transportation officials just presented some ideas to Punta Gorda city leaders and are working on a plan for when that time comes.

Driving on US-41 has its challenges

“There’s nothing fantastic about it,” said Clyde Sweatt of Deep Creek. “It could use some sprucing up.”

FDOT is getting feedback from drivers to find out what improvements you’d like to see in Punta Gorda and Charlotte County, focusing on areas like the Gilchrist and Barron Collier bridges, both right near the growing Sunseeker construction site.

“They have to do something with traffic control,” Sweatt said. “Even now, as you come across the bridge, traffic backs up when it gets into the first light in Punta Gorda.”

It could be a while before the bridges need to be replaced, but FDOT says that future project could be an opportunity to make them safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

However, not everyone is on board.

“It’s too noisy,” said Tony Mason of Punta Gorda. “Far too noisy walking next to traffic.”

Many agree, changes are needed on US-41 and are ready to fix the few flaws that come with living in paradise.

“This is such a great place,” Sweatt said. “You have to accept something; it’s not terrible.”

No decisions were made Wednesday. FDOT says it’s still in the process of getting feedback from city staff.

If you’d like to learn more about the project or submit your suggestions, click here.

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know.