US-41 road project in Fort Myers a nuisance for nearby businesses

Small businesses nearby say the road project on a stretch of US-41 in Fort Myers has caused many headaches. Drivers also say it’s a mess. Everyone we spoke Friday to who has been affected by it hopes the project wraps up soon.

“It’s impacting us on a daily basis,” said Romulo Contra, who works for US-41 Tires & Auto Repair.

Contra told us he speaks for all small businesses along this stretch of US-41 when he says the road work is hurting his business and not helping traffic.

“Especially when they block off our entrance, and I think you can clearly see with this awful lot of work they’re doing,” Contra said. “Every time it rains, it overflows everybody’s entrance.”

“If you’re going north, it’s hard to make a left turn coming in here,” said Lacey Woodruff, the office manager of Lee Dental Care.

Woodruff said it’s impossible to make a left anywhere in this construction zone, while she worries about her business, she fears for every driver’s safety.

“Our patients have a hard time going into our parking lot,” Woodruff said. “Also, it’s very dangerous for when they’re leaving. We’ve had a couple accidents out here.”

Florida Department of Transportation started construction in 2018, and it won’t be done until 2022.

“It’s our tax-paying money,” Woodruff said. “It’s coming out of our pockets, and it’s damaging our business.”

“I just want them to finish,” Contra said.

Until the work is done, businesses say they’ll continue to pay a heavy price.

We reached out to the construction company FDOT hired to do the work to find out if there’s any way to get the job done sooner, but we did not hear back Friday.

Reporter:Emma Heaton
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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