Traffic on the Sanibel Causeway in October was identical to bridge traffic in October a year ago.

Figures provided to the City of Sanibel from Lee County, which owns and operates the scenic causeway, show that 257,307 vehicles cleared the toll booth on the mainland side in October. That is 337 vehicles fewer than October 2016, or a scant 0.13 percent.

The numbers indicate that the island is almost back to normal after Hurricane Irma, but not quite. This October is the first October since 2011 that has seen a decrease in causeway traffic. The busiest October on record came in 2002 when 262,318 vehicles were logged.

While monthly figures for the causeway can be analyzed individually, using 2017 as any kind of benchmark blew away on Sept. 10 when Hurricane Irma passed through Lee County. The county suspended toll collection from the afternoon of Sept. 7 to the evening of Sept. 19, making the month a footnote for all time in causeway history. September was down 91,109 vehicles over September 2016. September had seen an increase in traffic for nine straight years before this year.

The flat numbers from October likely are a combination of people still battling back from Irma and the city's campaign to educate visitors and residents alike about the best time to travel to and travel on the island.

March remains the causeway's heaviest month year over year. The record month ever was March 2001 when 373,881 vehicles used the bridge. That month paved the way for 2001 to become the busiest year ever with 3.46 million vehicles. Last year's total of 3.36 million was 3 percent short of the record and this year was on pace to be about 3 percent under 2001 until the passage or Irma.