road construction.jpg.jpgReady or not, here comes the Florida Department of Transportation! In case you haven’t noticed, the Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”) plans to widen State Road 82 from two lanes to four lanes (and six lanes in some areas) on a 23-mile long portion of State Road 82 running through parts of Lee, Hendry, and Collier counties. Beginning early in 2014, FDOT will contact property owners along the first segment of the project, which runs from Colonial/Lee Boulevard to Shawnee Road in Lee County, and ask them to sell property to the State of Florida for project right-of-way. If owners will not sell the property voluntarily, FDOT can be expected to file an “eminent domain” lawsuit (also known as “condemnation”) in order to acquire the property by court order. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin early in 2016 and end in late 2018.

How did we get here?

In 2008, FDOT completed a study of the 23-mile long stretch of State Road 82. According to FDOT’s project website, the study “evaluates engineering, environmental, social, historic, and cultural effects” the project might have and “estimates costs for future phases of production.” The Federal Highway Administration has approved the FDOT study, so here we are!

Seven segments make up the 23-mile long road widening project. In order to help property owners and business owners along State Road 82 become familiar with the project, I’ll post a separate blog entry about each of the seven segments. In today’s post, we’ll explore the first segment, which is roughly 4.6 miles long. If you have ever driven on this part of State Road 82, you will know there are few structures immediately adjacent to State Road 82, except in the vicinity of the Colonial/Lee Boulevard and State Road 82 intersection. This segment will be widened and will feature paved shoulders and sidewalks. The dimensions of the planned improvements are shown here.

As of now, the Colonial/Lee Boulevard to Shawnee Road segment of the project is in the design phase.  During the design phase, a formal set of construction drawings is created so that bids can be submitted to build the project.  The final plans will include detailed roadway construction plans, showing a stormwater drainage system, traffic signals, lighting, median openings, and other infrastructure details.  The next phase of the project is right-of-way acquisition and, as indicated at the top of this blog, FDOT plans to begin acquiring right-of-way in early 2014. The FDOT’s website contains more information about the project’s progress.

Since neither right-of-way acquisition nor construction have been funded yet, these dates are subject to change. Stay tuned to our blog for future developments on the Lee Boulevard to Shawnee Road segment of the State Road 82 widening project. In my next post, I will highlight the segment of the project that runs from Shawnee Road to Alabama Road on State Road 82.