State Road 82 safety concerns


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State Road 82 safety concerns

By Fox 4 News Staff. CREATED Dec 27, 2013

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A Christmas eve crash on State Road 82 in Lee County is bringing renewed attention to the road, which has a history of wrecks.

Two days after Christmas, traffic is clear along State Road 82 at Gunnery Road in Fort Myers. But over the last year, crashes or close calls, have been all too common for some drivers. 

"Eighty-two is probably the worst road I've ever had to drive on," said a driver at a nearby gas station.

The stretch is just two lanes with no shoulder or median. It's why the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) wants to change that. 

"We're moving in Lee County quickly toward construction," said Debbie Tower, a spokeswoman for FDOT.

A face lift is coming to the two-mile section of State Road 82 between Lee Boulevard and State Road 29. Widening it to six lanes is the biggest improvement. But first the state must buy more land. 

"We can't build a six lane roadway without having enough room to widen the road and we don't know what we need to widen the road," explained Tower.

Until then, accidents keep happening. On Christmas Eve, two people were injured after a head-on wreck near Sunshine Boulevard. On Thanksgiving, two people died at Columbus Boulevard. And three weeks earlier, a driver was seriously injured in another wreck near Sunshine Boulevard and State Road 82.

"Drivers need to adjust their speed, pay attention to the rules of the road," said Tower. "For example, drivers are passing on the yellow."

It's why FDOT stands by it's infrastructure saying the road isn't to blame but those behind the wheel.

"People quite literally, figuratively, hold safety in their hands every time they sit behind a wheel of a car," said Tower.

The cost of the project is $75 million and construction is expected to begin in 2018.