Florida Construction News staff writer
Gov. Ron DeSantis has directed the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to prioritize repairs to the Sanibel Causeway. Work is needed so that first responders and Sanibel residents can access the island, as well as other recovery efforts such as power restoration and debris removal. Today, the contract for the bridge repair was awarded.
“FDOT has already made tremendous progress on the temporary bridge to Pine Island,” DeSantis said. “Now, I’ve asked them to work with Lee County to immediately begin work to provide temporary access and begin repairs to the Sanibel Causeway.
“Access to our barrier islands is a priority for our first responders and emergency services who have been working day and night to bring relief to all Floridians affected by Hurricane Ian.”
Hurricane Ian battered Florida’s infrastructure when it made landfall Wednesday, swamping the southwest part of the state in particular and leading to widespread flooding and power outages. Record 150-mph winds and towering waves wiped out whole sections of the Sanibel Causeway in Lee County and hit other infrastructure across the state, causing an estimated $40 billion in damage.
The only connection to the mainland for Sanibel and Captiva Islands was severed. The causeway, which opened in 1963, spans the San Carlos Bay and consists of three two-lane bridge spans with artificial islands between them.
Inspectors in Lee County and elsewhere are still working to assess all bridges, local officials said, but it’s clear the county was devastated by the hurricane.