8:48 A.M. UPDATE — Loveland said they also were looking at other ways to improve traffic flow at the Santa Barbara intersection beyond the overpass, which could cost $20 to $30 million to build.
In response to a question, Grubbs said a key to developing any of these projects will be a plan that also includes communities’ density, destination and dedicated funding sources to make sure roads and growth are compatible to support a transit system.
“it is removing barriers and taking the steps necessary” to land development codes to help move road projects like this forward, he said.
Among those in attendance this morning were Lee County Commissioners Tammy Hall and John Manning, commission candidate Carla Johnston and Cape Coral City Councilman Marty McClain.
Johnston asked how the flyovers would help improve Cape’s small commercial tax base. The city is approximately 91 percent residential and 9 percent commercial.
He stressed the overpasses, specifically the one at Santa Barbara, will not hinder traffic flow to businesses because “the turning movements” will still be there, Loveand said.
Grubbs said they looked at various communities, including New Orleans, on how elevated roads impacted cities. Some cities, he said, have started to tear down overpasses because of the adverse impact on businesses.
8:20 A.M. UPDATE ? Major road flyovers and their impact on traffic and economic development of businesses was the topic of Friday’s Cape Coral Council for Progress meeting.
Presentations by Dr. Joe Grubbs of Architecture, Inc., and Dave Loveland from the Lee County Department of Transportation focused on the development of Colonial Boulevard, a major traffic corridor that connects the Cape with the rest of the county.
“It is a vital, economic development engine,” Grubbs said.
Constructing flyovers at major intersections along the road to improve traffic flow was the key component of an intensive study recently. Funding problems will delay the project. But a flyover at Santa Barbara Boulevard and Veteran’s Memorial Parkway in Cape Coral remains a possibility.
Grubbs talked about how the Lee County Commissioners want officials to look at a way at connecting the communities in an effort to achieve “complete streets.”
“The choice boils down to do we want a 50s and 60s solution” to a 21st century issue,” Grubbs said.
Loveland, manager of transportation planning for the county, targeted the Santa Barbara, Veteran’s overpass.
Loveland talked history of a planned east-west corridor that connected Cape Coral with Charlotte County and across the river into Fort Myers that started in the 1970s.
The first piece was the Midpoint Bridge project and the overpass at Del Prado Boulevard and Veteran’s, which occurred in 1997.
Toll money paid for the the remainder of the road development along Veteran’s. An overpass was always planned at Santa Barbara, Loveland said.
Loveland said the long range plan now not only includes an overpass at Santa Barbara, but also at Country Club Boulevard, Skyline Boulevard, Chiquita Boulevard and at Pine Island Road.
“An overpass at Santa Barbara is not going to change access points” to businesses there, Loveland said.
The design for the overpass fits because of the wide median there and the roads to and from businesses, Loveland said.
“In the model for 2030 we are showing 67,000 cars a day at the intersection,” Loveland said. He stressed other models show up to 112,000 vehicles a day at the intersection depending on business development.
County budgeted $2.2 million for the design phase and that is moving forward, Loveland said.
Paying for the project could come from tolls, federal stimulus money or other funding sources.
The county is scheduled to go before the Cape’s transportation committee next month to discuss the plan.
But Loveland stressed because of financial problems the project may not happen before 2015.