It’s not official yet, but all indications are that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office will perform traffic control at Griffin Drive and SR-82 during times when Gateway Boulevard is closed at SR-82 while work crews relocate 37 Royal Palm trees near the Stoneybrook community.

GSCDD Operations Manager Scott Connell told the Supervisors during the July 9, 2015 Board meeting that the contractor performing the palm tree relocation, O’Donnell Landscapes, has been advised that it’s their responsibility to make sure the LCSO is there to ensure the safe flow of traffic whenever necessary.

“In no uncertain terms, I let [O’Donnell] know what the community expects: That there be control of the traffic at [SR-] 82 and Griffin Drive. So I put the responsibility on the contractor because we’re paying them for that operation,” said Connell.

The Gateway Services Community Development District staff have released a chart that showed the palm tree relocation would take place between July 20 through September 2 of this year, however Connell pointed out at the meeting that those dates are subject to change.

Connell did say that any road closures would take place during daylight hours only.

Also, Connell addressed the concerns of Stoneybrook resident Kathleen Flaherty who pointed out to the Board that road and lane closures would affect school buses, as well as the fact the GSCDD has done an inadequate job notifying residents about the current and future traffic situations in Gateway.

The Operations Manager said that they are working on getting three signage boards which would be placed at SR-82 and Gateway Boulevard, SR-82 and Griffin Drive, as well as Daniels Parkway and Gateway Boulevard – the three main entrances to Gateway. As for the buses, Connell told Flaherty and the Supervisors that O’Donnell Landscapes have already been advised that O’Donnell would be responsible for coordinating with the bus companies.

It’s great news for the community that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office will perform traffic control at Griffin Drive and SR-82 while the north end of Gateway Boulevard is closed. There is no light at Griffin and SR-82 making it an already dangerous intersection with its own traffic volume. Adding Gateway Boulevard’s traffic to Griffin Drive would make navigating that intersection an absolute nightmare.

But the residents have spoken, the GSCDD has listened, and it appears as though we’ll get the police presence we need to ensure as safe of a traffic situation as possible.

It won’t be perfect, but it’s a huge relief and it really is the best we could hope for under the circumstances.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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