Sanibel roads were nearly empty in March, April and May as result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related actions taken by local and state authorities. Traffic on the Sanibel Causeway was down by 36 percent for that period compared to the same time last year.
A report provided to the City of Sanibel by Lee County, which owns and operates the scenic bridge, showed a combined total of 610,341 vehicles passed through the toll booth in those three months versus the 954,264 last year.
Sanibel first declared a local state of emergency on March 18 and that month is typically the busiest of the year with more than 355,000 vehicles coming onto the island. This year 265,546 vehicles crossed the bridge, a decrease of 25 percent compared to March 2019.
Traffic continued to decline in April with a 61 percent difference compared to April 2019. The report showed 123,130 vehicles crossed the bridge, which is 6,500 less than September 2017 when Hurricane Irma passed the islands and the toll count was suspended for 13 days.
In May, the vehicle count climbed to 221,665 which is a 22 percent difference compared to the same month last year. The highest traffic count for May was in 2001 when 289,756 vehicles crossed the bridge.
From January to May, the overall traffic count is down by 22 percent.