Traffic on the Sanibel Causeway increased in 2019, after toxic algae blooms plagued the islands and Southwest Florida in 2018.
Statistics provided to the City of Sanibel by Lee County, which owns and operates the causeway, show 3,338,811 vehicles cleared the toll booth last year. That is 3.03 percent higher than the 2018 number of 3,240,521.
But the environmental threat posed by an unprecedented red tide fish kill experienced in July, August and September 2018 may have played a part in a lower annual total. Traffic in July 2019 was down by 1,154 vehicles, or .43 percent, from 2018, but August and September 2019 showed an increase of 13.14 and 12.87 percent respectively.
The year ended with December showing an increase of 3.27 percent over 2018 with 284,979 vehicles logged. The December record was set in 2015 when 288,846 vehicles used the scenic bridge.
March is the causeway’s heaviest month year over year. The record month ever remains 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. The 2019 total was 3.5 percent short of the record.