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Littleton Road to be widened to three lanes

January 23, 2019
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

When the idea of widening Littleton Road was first brought forward, it was thought that the street that runs from Northeast 24th Avenue in Cape Coral to Business 41 in North Fort Myers, would be expanded to four lanes along its busiest portion.

In the end, a far less costly alternative, that also would not displace residents or disrupt affected neighborhoods, was selected.

The Lee County Board of County Commissioners last Tuesday approved a recommendation from staff to widen a 1.2 mile stretch of Littleton Road to three lanes from Corbett Road to U.S. 41.

The plan would include two 11-foot travel lanes and one 12-foot bi-directional lane with on-road bike lanes and 6-foot sidewalks on both sides. A minimum right-of-way width of 92 feet is needed to accommodate these improvements.

There also was the possibility of adding some medians to limit the use of the middle lane and increase safety.

County Commissioner Brian Hamman said the design has not been set in stone, although the three-lane alternative rose to the top following public input.

In the end, was all about safety, he said.

"We want to make Littleton Road safer for bikers, pedestrians and motorists. It's something we can work into the final design," Hamman said. "Many people in the north Cape use Littleton to get to work, and this will make for a safer and more continuous flow for them and provide a nice amenity with the sidewalks and bike path."

Funding for the design is included in the current Capital Improvement Program and construction is anticipated in FY 2020-21.

The widening is part of another plan to connect Littleton Road to Kismet Boulevard in Cape Coral to create one road and another east-west corridor into Cape Coral. Currently, drivers on Littleton need to take a left and an immediate right to access Kismet.

For much of its history, it has been envisioned that Littleton Road be widened to four lanes. Even as recently as last March, when the BOCC officially ratified the realignment, it was with Littleton being four lanes.

However, the county was faced with a dilemma. Four lanes would have required the relocation of 36 residential units and the purchase of rights-of-way for roadway improvements, which alone would have added nearly $14 million to the cost. A four-lane highway would have cost $31.2 million, as opposed to $14.2 million for three lanes.

A public meeting was held on Oct. 18 for the widening study, which 92 people attended. Of those, 17 written comments were submitted concerning the need for turn lanes, project costs and the need for school speed limit signs near the elementary school, among other things.

Hamman said residents were also concerned about the impact four lanes would have on their neighborhood.

"Among the comments we heard was what kind of an impact a four-lane road would have on the community. Staff and engineers looked at the alternatives and we found we can have three lanes, add a central turn lane and right turn lanes into the community and still improve traffic flow and still keep the appeal," Hamman said.

There was also the possible relocation of the poles alongside LCEC, which would also have come at significant cost, though there will be some impact to guy- wires and other existing utilities.

Littleton Road is still in the 2040 Lee County Long Range Transportation Plan as four lanes.

In a related story, motorists who use Corbett Road at night are encouraged to seek alternate routes this week as a contractor for the Lee County Department of Transportation makes improvements.

Corbett Road was closed from north of Diplomat Parkway to just south of Littleton Road from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday and will be through Saturday morning.

Electronic message boards are in place to notify motorists of the planned closure.

A DOT contractor is adding a final layer of asphalt and painting roadway striping as part of a road improvement project that includes two 11-foot-wide lanes with 2-foot paved shoulders.

 
 

 

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