Southwest Florida International Airport expects record-setting passenger traffic through March and April. Seasonal roadway traffic is rapidly increasing, with an expected peak in March. Opening FDOT’s new Direct Connect route early in March is significant and delivers the immediate benefits of efficient, time-saving travel for visitors and residents alike in the Fort Myers/Naples area.
Secretary Jim Boxold introduced Governor Rick Scott during the February 16 press conference at Southwest Florida International Airport. The Governor announced the new route, which directly links transportation and economic powerhouses, I-75, and the airport, and he spent time answering questions from media immediately after the press conference. Following the press event, reporters and photographers also got a “first look” during a tour of the soon-to-open Direct Connect route.
Construction activity on this $54.1 million design/build project began in October 2012. Crews have built new lanes parallel to I-75 from south of the Alico Road interchange to the Daniels Parkway interchange, plus they built two bridges (over I-75 and Treeline Avenue/Ben Hill Griffin Parkway) that connect the interstate to the airport. Estimated completion for this project is later this spring.
The Direct Connect lessens congestion on local roads. Its early opening is especially important now with spring break soon in full swing, spring training for two nearby teams (Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins), and favorite destinations such as major restaurants, shopping centers, Germain arena, Florida Gulf Coast University, and beaches in the immediate area. The Direct Connect will also enhance year-round mobility improving the interstate in one of its busiest segments.