Traffic Crossing Causeway Down Through November 2020

The Santiva Chronicle Staff Report

The total number of vehicles counted at the Sanibel Causeway toll booth from January to November 2020 reached 2,697,142, a decrease of 11.68 percent compared to the same time in 2019 when just over 3 million vehicles were counted. That’s according to a report released in January by Lee County, which owns and operates the bridge.

Traffic in January and February 2020 was up by 4 and 3.45 percent respectively before Sanibel began feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March when the first case was reported for the island. The city declared a state of emergency that same month, which remains in effect nearly 10 months later.

The pandemic’s impact on traffic was immediate with a 25 percent decrease in vehicles crossing the bridge in March. Traffic fell sharply in April with 191,849 fewer vehicles or a 61 percent decrease compared to 2019. The decline continued in May, June and July recording a collective difference of 76,715 vehicles compared to the same months in 2019.

The report showed traffic picked up slightly in August with only a difference of 608 vehicles compared to August 2019. September traffic was up by 5 percent over 2019, the only month since March in which traffic increased.

November was the most recent month in the county’s report. Vehicles crossing the bridge that month totaled 242,527, a 9 percent decrease compared to the same month in 2019.

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