Redesign of often flooded Goodland Drive will begin in the coming months now that Collier County has taken over the road and captured a $500,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation.
Reconstruction is still years away, tentatively scheduled to begin in 2021. But the grant is a step toward rebuilding a road that has needed reconstruction for more than a decade.
The grant will be used to help pay for design and engineering. Those tasks might be more challenging than with typical roads since Goodland Drive sweeps through lines of mangroves and is barely above sea level.
The road will have to be raised enough to avoid flooding during even small rainstorms and keep the mangroves on each side alive.
It has been estimated the entire project will cost $4.5 million.
County officials knew the road needed to be fixed in 2002, when Marco Island became a city and took over responsibility for the road. Because the project would prove expensive, the county agreed to pay the city $1 million a year for 15 years to maintain it.
That money, according to the agreement, was to be used to fix Goodland Drive and any other roads in the city.
Marco City Council members focused on other city roads and never used the money for Goodland Drive.
Upset that the road had been ignored, Collier County commissioners withheld the final $2 million owed to Marco Island.
Marco Council members and county commissioners agreed to a deal that lets the county keep the final $2 million as long as it also takes the road back.
Designs for the road will have to be presented at public meetings, which have yet to be scheduled.