by SC Publisher Shannen Hayes
One year after the island began feeling the effects of COVID-19 traffic crossing the Sanibel Causeway has returned to pre-pandemic numbers and May set a new record. That is according to a report released in June by Lee County, which owns and operates the bridge.
The reports shows 1,582,182 vehicles were counted at the toll booth from January to May, up 26 percent over the first five months of last year even though traffic had remained down in January and February due to the pandemic.
But the bridge was busy in May with a record 323,157 vehicles crossing it that month. The report shows it is the first time May reached 300,000 vehicles since 1975, when data collection began. The previous record was set two decades ago with 284,199 vehicles. Traffic was up by 45.79 percent in May compared to last year or 101,000 more vehicles.
April nearly broke a two-decade record with 330,664 vehicles counted that month. It was just 200 vehicles shy of the record set in 2001. Last year, a moderate 123,000 vehicles were counted in April resulting in a sizable 168.5 percent difference.
March also rebounded with 352,000 vehicles counted, a typical number before the pandemic. And it remains one of the busiest months of the year.
The report for June will be available this month.