The Transportation Engineering Director for Collier County, Jay Ahmed, discussed plans of the 951/41 interchange with Kiwanis Club members early one morning. 951 was widened from four lanes to six lanes up to Davis Boulevard. According to Jay, “what we’re doing now is taking those six lanes further to the canal, just North of I-75. We’re taking Davis to six lanes, where Collier Boulevard begins and going west to Naples with six lanes. Construction is going all the way to Santa Barbara Boulevard. When the State (Department of Transportation) saw what the County was doing in the area, they matched our efforts to extend it from Radio Road west to Santa Barbara. The end result, Davis will end up six lanes all the way from Collier Boulevard to Santa Barbara. Construction began in September 2011 and they’re about twenty percent ahead of schedule. We hope to be done by the end of this year or sooner. Underground utilities take the longest while the construction of the roadway takes less time. Pavement is going down right now.
The state is in the planning stages of development for heading 41 heading towards Miami. The State did not plan to alter it intersection at 951/41, leaving the angle as it was. The County asked for help with the intersection. Although it is a state project, the county hired its own consultant about three years ago. The consultant suggested with a small right of way, they could skew the angle of the intersection slightly making it safer and easier to maneuver. To get the concept approved, it had to go back to planning. “Per the Federal process, we had to have something new, which was the fly-over, similar to the overpass on Golden Gate, it is long term, essentially taking 951 over 41. This has been approved by the Fed, and is on the books for 2035.”
Developments in the area will include Fiddler’s Creek, Naples Reserve, a new development along Rattlesnake Hammock, Hacienda Lakes, and of course, Lely. It is projected the increased traffic will be affecting the 951/41 intersection around the year 2035.
The MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) holds regular meetings for planning the roadways and requests public input on those plans. The MPO is the funding mechanism for these plans. Different roads have different costs, but what used to be about $10 million a lane mile, is now $5-6 million a lane mile. Economic affects similar to the price of homes have affected the cost of roadways.
The state will take the County’s project from 951/41 to about 6L Farms, funding $14 million of the total coast. Another $3 million will come from a consortium of business owners in the area and the County will put in another $4 million. Donna Fiala noted the County cost will include landscaping and green areas enhancing the overall aesthetics of the area.