Construction will soon begin on Phase I of the First Street and Second Street Two-Way Traffic Conversion project in Fort Myers. The project is budgeted at $3.1 million.
Four roadways that are currently one way will ultimately be converted to two-way streets. They include portions of Fowler, First, Second, and Seaboard streets, and Palm Beach Boulevard.
“It’ll open it up a little more for everybody,” Marc Gizzi said. “Hopefully, it’ll make travel easier coming into downtown and going out of downtown.”
Gizzi says it’s about time this change happened. He lives at the Oasis apartments says it’s not easy getting around.
“It is a pain in the neck,” Gizzi said. “It’s a little bit — it’s an extra you know probably 10 minutes travel time going back and around, plus all the lights.”
The project is expected to take approximately 12 months, due to manufacturing and delivery challenges of traffic signal materials, according to the City. Phase I of this project is expected to be completed in summer 2022.
“With converting it to two way, you have that friction of cars coming in the opposite direction, people turning in both directions,” said Nicole Monahan, the Forty Myers city engineer. “It naturally slows down some of the traffic.”
Monahan says, with a year of construction, traffic delays are inevitable.
“As we move through the project, we are going to be reducing lanes as we start to put into effect the two-lane striping and the two-lane signage,” Monahan said. “We just can’t open that back up for both lanes going the same direction.”
That doesn’t bother drivers we spoke to.
“If it’s improvement to safety for pedestrians, I think its worth the time,” Shari Drayer said.
“If it’s going to be better in the future, then, deal with it for a year,” Gizzi said.
Contractors are expected to begin bringing in equipment and materials, placing erosion control devices throughout the project area, and setting up traffic signs and devices this month.
Construction is expected to begin at the Palm Beach Blvd. and Seaboard Street intersection.
Motorists traveling First, Second, and Seaboard streets through the construction zone are strongly encouraged to sign up for construction and traffic updates at CFM2way.com by clicking on the “Contact Us” tab at the top of the page and selecting the “Project Updates” box.
The conversion of the First and Second streets corridors from one-way to two-way streets will improve neighborhood safety, lower speed limits, simplify access points, improve safety for all users (motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit) and add to downtown evacuation routes in case of hurricanes or other emergencies.