LEE COUNTY, Fla. – The Sanibel Causeway, lifeline to Sanibel Island in southwest Florida, will be reopened Wednesday morning after suffering major damages in Hurricane Ian.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced repairs to the bridge were ahead of schedule and residents would be able to return to the island using the roadway at 11 a.m. Last week, the governor said crews were aiming for Oct. 21 to reopen the Sanibel Causeway.
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“We had over 100 crews working around the clock, 36,000 work hours, to make repairs. And as you see there’s multiple points across this Causeway and you’re talking about bridge approaches roadway restoration you have to do analysis to make sure the bridge is stable,” he said. “These repairs while temporary, are really going to help get the residents of this island back on track. They’re going to be able to go and be at their property. We’re going to be able to help with the restoration efforts.”
A “massive convoy” of linemen and first responders was able to use the bridge last week, but the bridge was not repaired completely to allow civilians to use it.
“There’s been huge progress made particularly with the power infrastructure, you know, there’s more that needs to be done but man some of that stuff was really, really bad. And if we had not done that one-time convoy we wouldn’t have made even a fraction of the progress,” the governor said.
Troy Thompson, a resident on the island whose family owns a restaurant business there, said it “means everything to get back.”
“It’s not a vacation spot for us, but it’s our home. This is where I’m now raising my own daughter, my own family. The causeway is our lifeline and without it we have no opportunity to get back to the island to get back to our homes. We’ve been stranded in town for three weeks now,” Thompson said.
Lee County sustained severe damage after bearing the brunt of Hurricane Ian as it came ashore as a Category 4 storm.
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