VIDEO/PHOTOS: New and old Jolley Bridge open to traffic

Outside lanes on the existing and new S.S. Jolley Bridge were open to traffic on Friday afternoon. Previously all traffic to and from Marco Island was on the new bridge. The change allows continued beautification to the roadway medians on the inside lanes of both bridges. It also allows for the completion of irrigation tie-ins to the medians.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE // Buy this photo

Outside lanes on the existing and new S.S. Jolley Bridge were open to traffic on Friday afternoon. Previously all traffic to and from Marco Island was on the new bridge. The change allows continued beautification to the roadway medians on the inside lanes of both bridges. It also allows for the completion of irrigation tie-ins to the medians.

The northbound outside lane of the existing S.S. Jolley Bridge was open to traffic on Friday, taking vehicles off Marco Island. The southbound outside lane of the new Jolley Bridge will continue to bring traffic onto the island. The pattern change allows workers to use the inner lanes for median beautification work on both sides of the bridge. The change also allows for finishing tie-ins for the irrigation system along the medians.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE // Buy this photo

The northbound outside lane of the existing S.S. Jolley Bridge was open to traffic on Friday, taking vehicles off Marco Island. The southbound outside lane of the new Jolley Bridge will continue to bring traffic onto the island. The pattern change allows workers to use the inner lanes for median beautification work on both sides of the bridge. The change also allows for finishing tie-ins for the irrigation system along the medians.

— The outside lanes of both the new and old S.S. Jolley Bridge are now being used for Marco Island traffic.

At 1:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon, southbound traffic off Marco Island was switched back to the outside lane of the old bridge. On June 28, all traffic had been transferred to the new Jolley Bridge.

The change allows continued beautification to the roadway medians on the inside lanes of the bridges. It also allows for the completion of irrigation tie-ins to the medians, she said.

Seawall work underneath the bridges also continues, said Deb Tower, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation.

“We are in the home stretch,” she said. “We are on schedule to be finished in the fall.”

Tower could not give an exact completion date for the project.

The bridge is part of a $25.5 million federal stimulus project to improve traffic flow and capacity by adding two lanes to bring traffic onto Marco. The two lanes on the old bridge will take traffic off the island.

Having four-lanes of traffic will mean easier trips for residents, visitors and people who commute to the island for work, officials have said. Traffic will no longer have to come to a standstill if there is an accident, and hurricane evacuation should also be improved.

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marco writes:

Myrtle Rose was just taking a short flight over suburban Chicago when the 75-year-old aviation enthusiast looked out her cockpit window to see two F-16 fighter jets. She assumed the military pilots were just slowing down to get a closer look at her antique plane.

It wasn't until she got on the ground that friends and the police told her the attention was much more serious — for straying into restricted airspace during a visit by President Barack Obam

To make matters worse, "I didn't have my radio on. I was just flying around," she said.

It all added up to a big mistake.

"There's really no excuse for not knowing," said Lt. Col. Mike Humphreys, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which scrambled the two warplanes, a proposition that costs $9,000 an hour for each jet. "Anyone who flies an aircraft should know the restrictions."

Because Obama was in town for a fundraiser marking his 50th birthday, private pilots were forbidden to come within 30 miles of O'Hare Airport.

When the fighters appeared, Rose wasn't alarmed.

"I thought, 'Oh, well, they're just looking at how cute the Cub is," she said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press. The blue-and-yellow plane had won a best-in-class award at the Oshkosh Air Show, a huge annual gathering in Wisconsin.

Another NORAD representative suggested that Rose had no business thinking that a military jet racing toward her had anything to do with the cuteness of her plane.

"The biggest thing to keep in mind is that when F-16s come screaming up to you, they are probably trying to tell you something," spokeswoman Stacey Knott said.

Rose, who has been flying since the mid-1960s and even performed as a wing walker until five or six years ago, said the jet pilots could not have been more considerate.

Though she never saw their faces — hard to do, she said, when she's puttering along at about 60 mph and the jets were doing what she figured was about 300 mph — she was impressed with the way the pilot who pulled in front of her kept his distance to avoid rattling her wood-and-fabric plane.

"He was very respectful," she said.

Rose returned to land at her home in the affluent South Barrington area. Her late husband owned Rose Packing Co., a meat packer that supplies Canadian bacon to McDonald's restaurants.

Once she was on the ground, some friends rushed over and told her that the rendezvous had nothing to do with the good looks of the plane named Winston. After the aircraft was in the hanger, her yard began filling with police cars.

Rose said she filled out a report with the Federal Aviation Administration, including a note describing how she mistakenly believed the jets were circling to admire her plane. She said she has not heard from the agency.
"The worst part is they put my age in there," she said. "I don't think that was nice."

cribguy writes:

New video on Old and New Marco Island Bridge.

http://youtu.be/u3NeeY3MJ54

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