‘Massive convoy’ of Florida linemen, first responders use Sanibel Causeway damaged in Hurricane Ian

Bridge temporarily repaired for convoy, further repairs needed for normal traffic

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a news conference in Volusia County on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A “massive convoy” of linemen and first responders used the temporarily repaired Sanibel Causeway that was destroyed during Hurricane Ian, according to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis said 200 bucket trucks, 150 line and pickup trucks and other first responder vehicles were making their way to Sanibel Island as part of the state’s recovery efforts.

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They’re going to be working to restore the power situation. It will require some of this to be rebuilt. I mean, for those of you who’ve been out on that island, you know, you see concrete poles and utility poles snapped in half,” he said. “And that’s actually a pretty common sight to see. So it is going to require a lot of manpower. It’s going to require a lot of effort, but it’s something that will be done.”

While the causeway was not able to be used for vehicles, the governor said workers and resources were transported to Sanibel Island via air and barges.

“Now once the convoy goes across, they have to continue with some of the repairs. It is not going to be ready to have full-time civilian traffic. And so we said that this was something that would be done by the end of October and I’m actually able to report now that this will be open for civilian use Oct. 21,” DeSantis said.

Last week, DeSantis announced a temporary bridge providing access to Pine Island was finished.

Lee County sustained severe damage after bearing the brunt of Hurricane Ian as it came ashore as a Category 4 storm nearly two weeks ago.

“So this is going to take a lot of TLC, but my view is we got to get all hands on deck, we got to get all these communities moving forward. If you just let it toil, then that’s how they end up maybe never coming back, so I think there is a sense of urgency on it and we’re working across the board with all those,” DeSantis said in a news conference Thursday in Nokomis.

The state opened its first Disaster Recovery Center in Fort Myers a week ago.

As recovery efforts for the storm continue, state officials have also paved the way for those impacted to receive jobless benefits and federal assistance in multiple counties, including throughout Central Florida.

The Department of Children and Families also announced Saturday that Florida’s application for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) has been approved.

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About the Authors:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.