FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Paul Wingard, Department of Transportation
(941) 694-3334 or 479-8545
CAUSEWAY DRAWBRIDGE OPENING TIMES CHANGING PERMANENTLY
MYERS, Fla. (July 17, 2002) – At Lee
County’s request, the U.S. Coast Guard is changing the opening times for the
Sanibel Causeway Drawbridge from every ¼-hour to every ½-hour to help smooth
traffic flow while not detrimentally affecting boater traffic.
The change took effect Monday (July 15).
The county’s Transportation Department
performed a three-month test of the new times last year.
The results of that test were forwarded to the U.S. Coast Guard, which
subsequently gave its approval to make the change permanently.
The openings will be changed from once every ¼-hour,
on demand, to once every ½-hour, on demand.
On demand means the drawbridge opens only if there are boats waiting.
If no boats are waiting, it isn’t opened.
The change is only for weekdays. On weekends and federal holidays, the bridge will continue to
be opened every ¼-hour, on demand.
In addition, from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., the bridge
will be raised on demand, regardless of intervals.
From 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (peak motorist traffic), the ½-hour rule (on
demand) will be in place. That
means if during those times the bridge hasn’t been raised for several hours
and a boater approaches at 12:40 p.m., the boater would have to wait until 1
p.m. to pass through. If the boater
were to approach the span at 12:40 a.m., the span would be raised immediately.
The reason for the change is motorists often have
asked whether the drawbridge could be opened only every half-hour to quicken and
smooth traffic flow on and off Sanibel Island.
The test showed that the longer intervals between openings did not
detrimentally affect boat traffic or require the span to be opened for a
significantly longer amount of time.