Friday, October 21, 2011

George Mindling Column 5-6-2005

Got Any Ideas On Fixing I-75?


While sitting idly on I-75 on a recent Friday morning, I couldn’t help but think about the future of southwest Florida. There was no accident and it wasn’t rush hour! Traffic simply jammed and stopped. With estimates running at somewhere around 10 to 14 million new residents for our state within the next ten to fifteen years, it isn’t hard to imagine what traffic will be in 2015. 

The completion of I-75 just a little over twelve short years ago changed southwest Florida forever. Traffic now zips east/west across the southern half of the state effortlessly. The biggest change, however, isn’t the east/west flow: it is the flow to and from the Naples/Marco area and the high growth corridor north to Tampa and the connector at I-4. With the soon to be completed $386 million expansion at Southwest Florida International Airport, I-75 will again be asked to absorb a greater traffic load.

Prior to I-75, US 41 had been the prime connector between southwest Florida and the rest of the country. Planning had centered on that one north-south highway as the main artery of most coastal communities. One can only thank the Commissioners of Charlotte County for six laning US-41 when they did.

Got an idea to fix the problem? Want to get involved in the planning process? The State of Florida Department of Transportation wants to hear from you! Go to the web site “Get Involved!” at http://www.ftp2025.com/get-involved.asp. Take a look at the planning for year 2025. There is an on-line survey that, unfortunately, only works with Microsoft Internet Explorer. The survey is limited in scope, but does have a page for comments and citizen input at: http://www.ftp2025.com/comment.asp. I’m sure you have a view you’d love to share.

According to the DOT, “The Florida Transportation Plan (FTP) is the long-range plan that identifies the goals and objectives for the next 20 years to address the needs of the entire state transportation system. Perhaps more importantly, the FTP provides the policy framework for allocating over $100 billion in funding that will be spent to meet the transportation needs of residents, tourists and business people between now and 2025.”
Perhaps you can attend one of the public planning workshops at either Sarasota or Ft. Myers. They will be held:

May 9, 2005 -- Sarasota (9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport
Dan P. McClure Auditorium
5900 Auditorium Lane
Sarasota, FL 34243 Contact: Johnny Limbaugh 239-461-4300

May 11, 2005 -- Ft. Myers (4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.)
Florida Gulf Coast University, Sprint Room
10501 FGCU Blvd. South
Ft. Myers, FL 33965-6565
Contact: Johnny Limbaugh 239-461-4300

Just remember if you plan on using I-75 to get to Sarasota or Ft Myers for the workshops, you’d better leave home early.

George Mindling


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