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DeSantis: Temporary Matlacha bridge to connect Pine Island to mainland done ahead of time

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Submitted photo
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Special to WGCU
The early completion of emergency road and bridge repairs for Pine Island was announced on Wednesday.

The temporary bridge repair connecting Pine Island to the mainland was completed Wednesday, three days before the planned finish was due.

Governor Ron DeSantis along with the Florida Department of Transportation Secretary, Jared W. Perdue, announced the early completion of emergency road and bridge repairs for Pine Island.

Originally, On Sunday, Governor DeSantis directed FDOT to work with Lee County to expedite work and complete repairs by Saturday, October 8. Work began on Monday and FDOT crews worked to finish the repairs in less than three days.

“Within 24 hours after I asked FDOT to get involved, we had more than 130 trucks rolling in and crews got to work,” said DeSantis. “We made it a priority and we didn’t just get it done – we got it done quick. I want to thank the dedicated FDOT crews for working around the clock to restore the community’s access to Pine Island.”

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Tom James
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WGCU

“Hundreds of loads of sand and rock, various pieces of heavy equipment, and dedicated crew members have literally helped pave the way to recovery for this community. The Department was honored to be called to help support Florida’s communities in their greatest time of need,” said FDOT Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E. “We are proud to have worked alongside our partners, Lee County, and deliver on our promise of reconnecting this community to the mainland as quickly as we possibly could.”

Hurricane Ian completely devastated the area and cut off access from the mainland to this barrier island, which prevented necessary services and supplies from being driven directly into the community. FDOT and Lee County expedited emergency repairs to the road and bridges that provide motorists access to Pine Island. With construction complete, emergency personnel, utility trucks, and FDOT’s Cut and Toss crews now have access to make the island safe and secure for the 9,000 residents of Pine Island to soon begin returning to their homes and start their recovery.

Once immediate recovery efforts have subsided, permanent repairs to the Pine Island Bridge will be constructed. While the permanent replacement is expected to take some time to complete, the work completed this week provides safe and immediate access.

Additionally, DeSantis announced yesterday that the contract to begin repairs to the Sanibel Causeway was awarded. Equipment was mobilized last night, and there is already a team on the ground to begin repairs. The repairs to the Sanibel Causeway are expected to be completed by the end of the month.

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