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33% of Santa Barbara widening project complete

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There’s still 2.8 miles to finish by next year.

Still, the $41 million project to widen Santa Barbara Boulevard from four to six lanes “is moving ahead well. We’re making good progress,” said Steve Neff, Cape Coral traffic engineer.

Neff said that the project is on schedule to be finished by the summer of 2011.

Construction began in early 2007 on Santa Barbara Boulevard from just north of Pine Island Road south to Gleason Parkway.

By the end of this week, the route should be six-laned from Kamal Parkway to Gleason Parkway, the southern end of the project, said Maricelle Venegas, project spokeswoman.

The other end of the project has also been finished and construction has begun at the intersection of Santa Barbara Boulevard and Hancock Bridge Parkway just to the south, Venegas said.

For the people like her who have had to deal with the construction almost daily while driving around the city, the project “is a pain in the butt,” said Jean Nagy, who lives in southwest Cape Coral.

However, Nagy said she also feels that the project is necessary: “That road is packed with people,” Nagy said.

According to city traffic counts, as many as 20,000 vehicles drive through the construction area daily.

Nagy said that many people like her have learned to bypass the sections under construction.

“You can skip a lot of the construction by going onto Santa Barbara Place which runs parallel to Santa Barbara Boulevard between Nicholas Parkway and Trafalgar Parkway,” Nagy said.

“I can skip a lot of the construction by sneaking onto that street,” she said.

Neff said that along with the completion of Santa Barbara Boulevard, the project to widen Del Prado Boulevard North is on scheduled and should be finished by the spring of 2011. More than 18,000 vehicles travel along the route daily, according to city traffic counts.

The last phase of that $42 million project, from Diplomat Parkway south to Pine Island Road, is continuing, Neff said.

When finished, the city will have two major six-lane north-south routes “allowing for better traffic flow in Cape Coral,” Neff said.

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