The Sanibel Causeway, which was damaged by Hurricane Ian, will reopen to civilians this month and is already opened to emergency vehicles, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced on Tuesday.
The Sanibel Causeway, which connects Sanibel Island and Captiva to Florida’s mainland, collapsed and was damaged in three different areas due to the massive Category 4 storm, which hit Florida’s west coast before exiting on the east coast and making a second U.S. landfall:
A section of the Sanibel Causeway has collapsed. It’s the only way for vehicles to enter/exit Sanibel & Captiva. #Ian pic.twitter.com/Sfqhf94ju2
— Bryan Bennett (@weatherbryan) September 29, 2022
SANIBEL CAUSEWAY I Here is some footage of a portion of the Sanibel Causeway that has collapsed. pic.twitter.com/SzYFDEi5zo
— Fox 4 News (@Fox4Now) September 29, 2022
Big chunk of the Sanibel Causeway collapsed from #Ian. It is the only way on and off the island by car. pic.twitter.com/36odKLvnHr
— Paul Dellegatto⚡️FOX (@PaulFox13) September 29, 2022
DeSantis said on Tuesday that the causeway was “severed” in three different locations, and they were “flying in search and rescue immediately” after the storm passed.
“But we also understood that there was going to be a lot of need for services because we needed to make sure we can rebuild these islands, including Sanibel,” he said, noting that they moved rapidly to open access to Pine Island. And now, they have made similar progress for the Sanibel Causeway, as it is now opened to emergency vehicles.
“Any minute now, right behind us, the temporary Sanibel Causeway repairs that have already been undertaken will allow this massive convoy that you see out there … are actually going to be able to cross Sanibel Causeway and drive onto the island today,” he said.
“This includes Lee County Electrical Cooperative, FPL, Duke, [and] other partners. … I mean, I said over a week ago, we wanted Lee County to have more linemen anywhere and you’ve seen that,” he continued, adding that this access will help speed up the recovery process on the island:
Absolutely amazing to see emergency vehicles full of resources crossing the newly repaired #Sanibel Causeway today. Kudos to @GovRonDeSantis, @KevinGuthrieFL, and @FDOT_Secretary and everyone involved in making this a reality just weeks after Hurricane #Ian. pic.twitter.com/3fM3pXdCNq
— Jimmy Patronis (@JimmyPatronis) October 11, 2022
“I mean, for those of you who’ve been out on that island, you know, you see concrete poles, utility pole snapped in half, and that’s actually a pretty common sight to see, so it is going to require a lot of manpower. It’s going to require a lot of effort, but it’s something that will be done,” he said before announcing that the bridge will be open for civilian use October 21.
The update comes on the heels of the governor announcing that there are “over 99 percent of Floridians with power other than some of the LCEC [Lee County Electric Cooperative] pockets.”