Legislation has reached the Governor’s desk aimed at easing traffic congestion along interstate 75 in Collier and Lee counties. The bill passed the Senate this week. The House past it last month. The bill creates the Southwest Florida Expressway Authority, which would build, maintain and operate toll booths along I-75 in Collier and Lee counties. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Debbie Tower says it will provide relief of traffic jams sooner than expected.
“Creation of an expressway authority is a very positive thing for swfl . We have construction funded to six lane I75 in Lee and Collier counties scheduled to start in 2008. In 2010 we have construction funded for the segment from Daniels interchange north to the river. The expressway authority however, is looking at funding opportunities that could put 10 lanes in place sooner rather than later. Our original study indicated by the year 2030 we would need 10 lanes but I think all of us recognize that we need those 10 lanes well before 2030.”
The bill passed this year after failing in previous sessions. Counties were worried the authority would end up building new roads and opening up new areas to development. This bill allows work only on the interstate. Both the state and federal governments have to approve construction of toll lanes. The project could cost more than $770 million. Tower says she’s confident the governor will sign the bill into law.
Monday, 02 May 2005 01:00