SC Staff Report
The Florida Department of Transportation is expecting to complete a majority of the emergency restoration work on the Sanibel Causeway by the end of the year, and the whole project, including Causeway Islands Beach Parks, is expected to be done by early 2025.
In the meantime, causeway traffic will be reduced to one lane on the weekends and motorists should expect isolated flagging operations, an uneven road surface, periodic shoulder closures, workers and equipment close to the road, and numerous dump trucks in the area.
Right now, crews are restoring five bridge approach slabs, where the bridges meet the upland roadway (on the land), with the exception of the undamaged approach from the island onto the western span of the causeway. The work is expected to take through December.
A special high early strength concrete, which allows each phase of the reconstruction to be completed within 72 hours compared to the normal one-week construction time, will be used to expedite the work. Crews from many different disciplines will be sequenced to further expedite the restoration.
The causeway will become limited to one lane starting at 7 p.m. Fridays through 6 a.m. Mondays through the end of the year. Flaggers or temporary signals will be used to control traffic as the bridge approaches are restored.
Work continues on McGregor Boulevard to the Sanibel Causeway from Port Comfort Road to Sanibel. A guardrail installation closed segments of the westbound lane from Port Comfort Road to the Toll Plaza this weekend.
Motorists traveling in the area should expect slower than usual traffic and are encouraged to obey the posted 20 mph speed limit on the bridge, as well as watch for workers and construction vehicles entering and exiting the roadway.
The Causeway project has been designed to make it more resilient against future storms, including driving multiple layers of sheet pile 50 feet deep as anchors, and “mattresses” or buried baskets filled with rock to protect against erosion, according to FDOT.
Federal funding accounts for 80 percent of the $300 million estimated project cost, with Lee County funding the remainder. The county will also pay an estimated $5.6 million for recreational amenities.