Big Carlos Bridge – How High?

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Some discussions have entertained a 65-foot high replacement for the bridge which currently has 23 feet of clearance.

As vehicle drivers, we have been inconvenienced by having to wait for the openings, but it is rarely a long wait for vehicular traffic. A 65-foot high bridge might reduce or eliminate the number of openings, but it would NOT have a significant impact upon traffic congestion on Estero Blvd given the current number of lanes available for traffic north and south of the span.

Additionally, a Matanzas Pass-like structure might generate a similar traffic accident frequency, related to visibility and inattentive sight-seeing drivers.

Recreational fishermen enjoy the relatively low road surface for their pastime. Is it necessary to take away yet another recreational opportunity for Florida’s citizens? Is their obvious presence not part of the local culture rapidly being removed by “progress”?

The south end of the island looks and feels like “Old, traditional Florida”; these are cosmetic reasons that everyone who visits the Pass can appreciate. The visual detriment of long walled ramps to a 65-foot surface would be, at best, tragic.

Health-enhancing activities should be encouraged, not made more vertically difficult, by keeping surfaces relatively flat and safe. The safe use of the bridge by runners, pedestrians, fishermen and cyclists could be greatly improved over the existing conditions if redesign included as little as 3-4 additional feet of width. If room for extra width is limited, a cycle path could be designated for only one side of the span. It would greatly enhance many people’s experience of crossing the pass.

 

Tom Volm
Fort Myers Beach