This is how Lee County plans to prevent Lehigh Acres driving aggravation

Lee County wants to straighten out some traffic problems on Lee Boulevard and…

It has been a point of aggravation for motorists since soon after Lee Boulevard was widened to six lanes.

The county is going to try a new solution to the problem of making a turn on Lee Boulevard into Gunnery Road whether coming from eastern Lee County in the morning or heading home during the afternoon rush.

One of the big back-ups comes when traffic that wants to make the left turn from the boulevard to Gunnery Road gets stacked up beyond the single turning lane. The result often left a car blocking traffic in the travel lane closest to the median.

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“The turn lanes aren’t big enough, and the last car tries to get into the turn lane, and he’s sticking out,” said County Transportation Director Randy Cerchie. “Our guys sat out there watching them and we’re lengthening the turn lanes.”

The turn lanes will be about doubled in length, so that more cars can move in to the median, keeping them out of the east-west driving lanes.

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What about the Alico Connector?

Transportation planners also got the go ahead to develop a controlled access strategy for the Alico Connector. 

The final stage of the reconstruction of Alico Road, the connector is a nine-mile path that will move traffic from Sunshine Boulevard and State Road 82 to Immokalee Road, well into Lehigh Acres where the traffic is jammed during most morning and afternoon commutes.

The county transportation department plans to limit access by placing driveways at least 660 feet apart and 1,300 feet for traffic signals to prevent traffic bunching along the roadway, increasing congestion.

Cerchie said a frontage road is sometimes needed to provide fewer places to turn while allowing traffic to travel to precise destinations along a secondary road off the main road. 

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Some of the land along the new connector is now used for farming and limerock mining. Recent development trends suggests that after the mining is done, the pits will serve as lakes for hundreds of new homes.

When that happens, Cerchie said, the county will specify that there be one main entrance and one main exit to prevent some of the traffic issues raised when the Bella Terra community was developed in unincorporated Estero.

“The entrance to a mine might work fine when it’s a mine. When they have dug everything out, they may need an extra entrance,” he said. “That’s when they come to the (commission chamber) podium and work everything out.”

This is how Lee County plans to prevent Lehigh Acres driving aggravation 1

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Homeless advocates spread out over Lee County to count homeless population

Homeless advocates spread out over Lee County to count homeless population. The hope is to get needed resources to those living on the street.

Andrew West, Naples Daily News

More funds targeted to homeless families 

Lee County has kicked in another $1.9 million to help house homeless families during the search for a place to live for the long term.

The program is aimed at families with more than one adult and with or without children.

One hotel has been signed up for the non-congregate sheltering of homeless families and others are being sought.

In addition to shelter, the residents who are given shelter will also receive case management assistance with a goal of finding the family a place in the county’s ongoing rapid re-housing program.

“I think one of our greatest challenges is making sure there are nonprofits that we lean on that have the capacity and band-width to actually deliver the services,” said Mark Mora, the assistant county manager who supervises human services work.

But the housing market has been strong in recent months, driving the market rate for homes ever higher.

“One of the challenges we have is finding enough units or landlords that want to be part of the program. Finding hotels for those emergencies stays hasn’t been a real problem for us. (It’s) those longer term housing needs that are really becoming challenging,” Mora said. “That’s the market here. It’s very difficult for anyone, regardless if they are homeless or coming through one of the county’s programs, to find long-term housing. There’s a lot of competition here.”

To adapt, the county and human services providers try to find a pathway to housing,  starting on an emergency basis and continuing with the assortment of human services assistance now made available to homeless families. 

New strategies are being used to create housing where it is needed. 

“Some of our partners are starting to grow that capacity,” Mora said. “A  good example of that is Community Assisted Support Living, known as Castle (CASL), partnering with Blue Sky Communities of Sarasota.”


Cypress Village, a 90-bed complex under construction near Winkler Avenue and Colonial Boulevard is expected to come on-line by early summer. Contractors have faced challenges obtaining building supplies, including such basics as cabinet hardware.

“That will help us place a lot of those people,” Mora said.

This is how Lee County plans to prevent Lehigh Acres driving aggravation 2

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