County Polls Local Residents on Big Carlos Pass


Big Carlos Pass Boating Survey

 Lee County is considering options for the rehabilitation and/or replacement of the Big Carlos Pass Bridge, including evaluating the height of the span and the roadway that provides the connection from Fort Myers Beach to Lovers Key State Park and Bonita Springs.

“The purpose of the survey is to poll local residents on the parameters and the height of the bridge,” said Scott Gammon, the project manager with the Lee County Department of Transportation. “We want to hear from the owners of vessels that moor in the bay, to help define the clearance of the span, to determine what sort of vessels moor on the other side of the bridge. We used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to define a geographic box around the area, then mailed an informational letter and survey to local people that boat in the bay, so while it was mostly Fort Myers Beach residents, we also contacted people who live in Fort Myers, as well as both sides of the bridge, to the east and west.”

“We have already received just over 300 survey responses, with about 110 of those coming in electronically,” explained Sean Donahoo, vice president for AIM Engineering & Surveying, Inc., a subcontractor on the project. “That is a terrific response so far, but we would love to have more; that would be great. Hopefully boaters take an interest and will want to participate, not only through the survey but at the upcoming public information meeting later this Fall, on a date and place we have yet to determine, as we have to wait to receive feedback from the Coast Guard.”

“That is when we will report on the raw data from the survey,” adds Scott, “with the crucial information being the vertical clearance of the bridge. At this meeting, we will explain to the public each of the alternatives considered for this project, along with a menu of options that we will evaluate, to be able to gain input on each.”

The current Big Carlos Pass Bridge opened in July 1965 and is now over 50 years old. It already exceeds its design life, does not meet current standards and has significant deterioration due to chloride penetration from the area’s saltwater. The existing bridge is a single leaf steel movable bascule span and prestressed concrete girder approach spans, with a vertical clearance when closed at 24 feet and a horizontal clearance of 50 feet.

If you use Big Carlos Pass for access to and from the Gulf of Mexico, please fill out the survey form online at Information collected will be used in determining user extent, types of vessels and purpose of travel through the waterway, with all responses received by Friday, September 1, included in the survey database. If you have any questions, please contact Thomas Shaw, P.E., Project Manager, Kisinger Campo & Associates, Inc., at 813-871-5331 or at


Gary Mooney