A look at FDOT projects in Immokalee

FDOT plans have a huge effect on how the community can grow so the SR 29 plans there are important for Immokalee.

FDOT’s plans for the area south of LaBelle are important for anyone driving that direction, in particular for farm trucks. At this time, there is no accommodation planned for turn lanes to head south for vehicles entering SR 29 at Porterfield Oil and Evans Road just south of LaBelle.

Folks there feel these key roads and businesses will lack direct access to the southbound lane of SR 29 – vital because it handles so much Immokalee-bound traffic. In particular, it would affect farm trucks from the Immokalee area, which would have to turn off onto South Loop Road, swing around to North Loop Road and then to Porterfield Oil via a driveway the business would be required to put in itself. They could also continue further north to refuel in an even more congested area. Over time, the extra time, fuel and inconvenience would hit those truckers in the pocketbook. A number of residents foresee long waits and traffic hold-ups if the current plan does not take their fears into account.

Evans Road south of LaBelle would also not have a turn lane to the south, with the same results for many.

Here’s a quick PD&E update for the area:

The widening and reconstruction Project Development and Environmental studies (PD&E) for SR 29 from Oil Well Road to SR 82 is ongoing. The PD&E is expected to be completed by November 15. A public hearing is planned for that time with design to begin shortly after. According to JoAnn May, spokesperson, FDOT will begin coordination with all agencies at that time geared toward species and mitigation of any natural resource.

Impact on any parks and recreational facilities and the airport will be considered then.

A Safe Routes to School Sidewalks project in the area of Eden Park Elementary will include six-foot walkways and design to begin in 2019, with construction set for 2022.

SR 29 South of Agricultural Way to CR 846 includes two separate projects: widening an existing bridge and a pedestrian crossing. Advanced design is planned for several years in the future.

Two more sidewalk projects are set for Lake Trafford: from Carson Road to Laurel Street – six-foot sidewalks with design beginning in 2019; and the same from Little League Road to Laurel Street.

A $13 million TIGER Grant Award, with a 20 percent match from Collier County (total cost $16.4 million) will go toward design and construction of 22 miles of new sidewalks, upgrade 32 intersections and add 22 shaded bus shelters here in Immokalee. In addition, five miles of streetlights and 22 miles of drainage ditches will be included. Work is expected to begin in late 2019, with a completion date of 2021.

Patty Brant, Publisher of the Immokalee Bulletin can be reached at pbrant@newszap.com

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