Traffic sign in south Lee County confusing some drivers

Published: May 14, 2021 5:41 PM EDT
Updated: May 14, 2021 5:45 PM EDT

Left or right? It’s a decision drivers make a dozen times a day, but some say a sign in south Lee County has the potential to send you in the wrong direction.

Drivers alerted us to a sign on US-41 at the turn onto Michael G. Rippe Parkway, saying it’s a source of confusion. The sign tells drivers Alico Road is at the next signal and has a right arrow, which could send drivers unfamiliar with the area onto Rippe and in a different direction. Alico is actually at the next signal. If that seems confusing, that’s because it can be to drivers who don’t know the area so well.

It could also be dangerous.

“It’s certainly more confusing. The real danger is when people get in that lane don’t realize they have to turn right and then try and back in, especially when you’ve got cars lined up to get back on Alico during season,” said Denise Miller, a snowbird.

“I really don’t look at the signs because I’m from the area, but I can see how the layout of the road can be confusing for some people out of town,” said Mark Tiner of Fort Myers.

With more people coming to Southwest Florida, more drivers will likely make the same mistake.

If you turn onto Michael G. Rippe, but meant to turn onto Alico, there is a way to get back to Alico Road. But which way is it and how long does it take? Reporter Zach Oliveri jumped into a car and made the drive. Once he turned onto Rippe, he started a timer to see how long it would take to get to Alico. He followed the advice of locals he spoke with and turned onto Briarcliff Road off Rippe and took it to US-41 until he reached the turn lanes at Alico. In total, it took 10 minutes to correct the wrong turn.

If you’re in a pinch, every minute is critical. What suggestions do drivers have?

“Put a sign earlier to make sure people understand that Michael G. Rippe is only that right lane only,” Miller said.

“If they were pretty specific with it, it would be a lot more easier for people from out of town,” said Mary Springfield from Dallas.

WINK News reached out to the Florida Department of Transportation about any potential changes to the sign. They said they’ll conduct a field review and will decide if a new design is needed.