Fiala suggests Collier Boulevard overpass at I-75 before one at U.S. 41

A June 2010 file photo with an aerial view of the intersection of U.S. 41 East and Collier Boulevard. Kite Realty Group had marked the property it calls '951 & 41' in the center of this image from its website. Kite Realty Group

A June 2010 file photo with an aerial view of the intersection of U.S. 41 East and Collier Boulevard. Kite Realty Group had marked the property it calls "951 & 41" in the center of this image from its website. Kite Realty Group

Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala on NewsMakers 10-9-11.

Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala on NewsMakers 10-9-11.

"I don't want to take anything away from 41 and 951 (Collier Boulevard) — those improvements are much needed. But, if we don't have plans to do an overpass at that intersection now, could we use the funds for the overpass on I-75? That overpass needs to be done now. It is desperately needed," Commissioner Donna Fiala said.

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— Donna Fiala wants to change the timing for improvements to a couple of major East Naples intersections.

And the Collier County commissioner is starting to make those intentions public.

Fiala said she would like to see county and state governments prioritize interchange improvements at Interstate 75 and Collier Boulevard above an overpass at the U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard intersection.

"I don't want to take anything away from 41 and 951 (Collier Boulevard) — those improvements are much needed. But, if we don't have plans to do an overpass at that intersection now, could we use the funds for the overpass on I-75? That overpass needs to be done now. It is desperately needed," she said.

Fiala said she doesn't want to put all of the intersection improvements at U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard on hold entirely.

"The county's plan, which will get the kink out of the (intersection), is so good," she said of that intersection. "And, of course, eventually I would like to see an overpass there if that is what is determined. I just think that any extra money we have now should be used for the I-75 project."

Debbie Tower, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation, said DOT plans to pay for the design for interchange improvements at I-75 and Collier Boulevard, also known as exit 101, in 2013-14.

Tower said the state would be looking to the county's Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), a transportation agency that has representatives from Collier local governments, for direction on the priorities for the project.

"We would want to hear the discussion," she said. "But timing would be important. ... It would depend on where the project at 41 and 951 was, whether there would be change needed to amend the five-year work plan. ... There are a lot of things to consider."

Earlier this fall, the county staff held public hearings on the re-evaluation of a project development and environmental study for improvements at the U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard intersection.

The project, which is being developed in coordination with the state DOT, will make improvements about a quarter-mile in each direction on both U.S. 41 East and the Collier Boulevard segment north of Marco Island.

The county has proposed realigning the intersection at U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard to make it safer, which would cost between $14.1 million and $18.8 million. Adding an overpass to the project is an additional $43.2 million.

The county has proposed realigning the intersection at U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard to make it safer, which would cost between $14.1 million and $18.8 million. Adding an overpass to the project is an additional $43.2 million.

The project to align the intersection and make ground-level improvements is expected to begin in 2013-14.

Connie Deane, the community liaison for the Collier County Growth Management Division, said the staff hadn't heard from Fiala about the proposal to shift funding.

Fiala, who spoke about the plans recently at a Leadership Marco meeting, expected to bring up the issue at Friday's MPO meeting. She is a member of that board, but had to leave before she had the opportunity to bring the issue up for discussion.

Johnny Limbaugh, DOT's Southwest area office manager, said DOT will look to the MPO to develop priorities for long-range plans.

"We want the MPO to set the priorities," he said.

* * * * *

DANGEROUS INTERSECTIONS: The summer of 2010 series recap

Collier's dangerous intersections

A look at intersections with high crash ...

Dangerous intersections:The series page

Dangerous intersections: A map of crash rates

Dangerous intersections: A map of crash totals

Dangerous intersections: Where you're most likely to crash in Collier County

Dangerous intersections: A closer look at five of Collier County's worst

Dangerous intersections: Collier data

Dangerous intersections: Lee data

Dangerous intersections: U.S. 41 is accident central throughout south Lee

Dangerous intersections: How we did our analysis in Collier, south Lee

Dangerous intersections: Most Marco accidents aren’t happening on the streets

Dangerous intersections: Golden Gate Estates has several of Collier’s worst

Dangerous intersections: Naples has heavy traffic, but few crashes at corners

Dangerous intersections: Immokalee drivers face seasonal traffic, not many crashes

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Comments » 3

happy6 writes:

FIALA...lets see ...she's the idiot that approved the kayak ramp on 951...and the rest of the $$$ for nothing.

JohninMarco writes:

She wants this for one reason, so her supporters will get money for both construction and landscaping from the taxpayers for building this waste. She still will not admit to the 11 million spent for landscaping the area around the Jolley Bridge.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Its going to be SO much fun living in Miami !! Im happy Donna has a vision of this coast looking like the East Coast.
When do we get the Strip Clubs and Nude Beaches ?

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