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Lee County, contractor partner to widen stretch of Ortiz Ave in Fort Myers

A multi-million-dollar plan is being set into motion to ease traffic along a busy stretch of road in Fort Myers. It’s Lee County that is spearheading the project with the help of a third party.

A contractor is working with Lee County to improve driving conditions and traffic flow along a 1.7-mile stretch of Ortiz Avenue in Fort Myers.

The contractor hopes widening Ortiz Avenue makes the roadway more consistent and keeps traffic flowing from one lane each way to two for more than 1.5 miles.

Ortiz Ave. in Fort Myers from Colonial Boulevard to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard will get upgrades, including bike lanes, a trail and a sidewalk.

“It serves as a bypass for 75 if there’s an accident or something like that,” said Kris Cella, the public outreach consultant for Cella Molnar & Associates. “And as you know, the Colonial intersection there is really quite busy, so it’s going to kind of continue the four and six-laning that’s south of Colonial onto Six Mile Cypress.”

The project is expected to cost $20 million and will take about a year and half to complete.

While adding more lanes to the roadway might help alleviate some traffic, Katie Leppert, the manager of the Edison Apartments, is worried about the congestion the construction might cause.

“Fingers crossed that it’s not too painful,” Leppert said.

Leppert is also concerned all of the construction to widen the road will bring some frustration to her residents and deter apartment seekers from checking out that complex.

“I hope that maybe it’ll affect it in a positive way because there will be a bicycle path and a walking path, so maybe people will walk by more, ride their bikes, buy more,” Leppert said. “I’m trying to look at the big picture.”

The plans are supposed to be finalized by this fall, and construction is expected to start next spring.

Reporter:Andryanna Sheppard
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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