To the editor:
The problem with the Matlacha Bridge is not that it sticks, the problem is that it never should have been built. The carrying capacity of Pine Island Road had been exceeded by a large margin, as measured by the 810/910 rule. The old bridge was not the whole problem, but the carrying capacity could not be increased without improving the bridge,
Cloning the antiquated drawbridge was not the answer, I met with then Commissioner Janes when it was first proposed. He looked me in the eye and said, "Not to worry. We have land at Masters Landing and at the next BOCC meeting I will introduce a resolution to begin negotiations for a landing on Veterans Parkway."
For reasons outside the scope of this letter, I knew that it was nothing more than politicspeak, and wouldn't happen, It didn't.
The only solution which would have greatly increased traffic flow without destroying the businesses in Matlacha would have been to clone a different bridge, specifically the Matanzas Pass bridge, a high-rise, fixed span with on/off ramps on each side, and preexisting businesses operating beneath it.
Expensive? Of course. Sadly money was available at the time. Marco Island received money to build a new bridge from the mainland. Stuart got a grant to build a bridge one mile from an existing bridge. Why didn't Lee County get a similar grant?
A shovel-ready project was needed to apply for a grant, Why didn't Lee County have a shovel ready project? The answer I was given was that Pine Island was too far down the totem pole to worry about.