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Upgrade – but don’t degrade – SR 31

By Staff | Mar 24, 2021

To the editor:

I recently read the article by Chuck Ballaro regarding proposed Route 31 improvements. I am a Route 31 property owner and my comments follow:

Babcock Ranch, Route 31 improvements

As a condition for approving the Babcock Ranch Development, allowing 20,000 homes with 50,000 residents, Route 31 was to be improved. The two- lane rural highway is the only access to the development. Originally, the roadway was to be widened to a 6-lane divided highway, and was to be funded by the developer. Years later, as the community is being developed, and Route 31 remains without any improvements.

During a March 11, 2021, Public Information Meeting, The Florida Department of Transportation, (FDOT), presented a proposed Route 31 design. Beginning at the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers, approximately 6 miles of northern roadway would be widened; a portion would be 6 lanes, the remainder 4 lanes. The project would proceed in phases, and would be completed by 2045 — within 24 years. A “No Build” option was also presented, suggesting that no definite decision to proceed had been reached.

The roadway design also includes at least 4-high speed “traffic circles” — and no traffic signals. Public comments included concerns about flooding and drainage, current roadway hazards and the impact on local residents.

The State and County have an obligation and duty to upgrade SR 31.

Sam Smart

RT 31 property owner