Residents of hurricane-ravaged Sanibel Island regained land access to their properties October 19 after temporary repairs on the causeway to and from the mainland were completed.
Superior Construction of Florida finished the work one week ahead of schedule, the company says. (Before, during and after repair photos of the causeway are at the end of this story.)
Now, Superior turns its attention to permanent repairs to the Sanibel Causeway, which washed out in multiple sections during Hurricane Ian. The storm struck parts of southwest Florida on September 28 as a Category 4 hurricane, leaving Sanibel cut off from all except boat, barge or helicopter transportation.
Temporary repairs of the 3-mile-long causeway included the following, according to the Florida Department of Transportation:
- 70 pieces of heavy equipment
- 8,200 loads of fill dirt
- 2,400 loads of rocks
- 4,000 tons of asphalt
- Four barges, five boats and two dredges
- Seven cranes
- Dive teams with underwater survey equipment
Superior is part of a joint venture of the de Moya Group on the temporary and permanent work on the causeway, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Transportation. The team has had more than 100 crews working collectively around the clock, logging more than 36,000 total workforce hours to complete temporary access in 15 days.
"Hurricane Ian devastated Lee County, and it's now our privilege to rebuild a crucial piece of infrastructure for our fellow Floridians and neighbors. It's not a task we take lightly," said Superior CEO Nick Largura.
Along with Sanibel, Pine Island was also cut off from the mainland during the hurricane. A temporary bridge was in place there October 5. The Sanibel Causeway damage was much more extensive. When Pine Island’s access was restored, it was estimated that the Sanibel Causeway’s temporary repairs would not be completed until October 31. The contract for the causeway work was awarded October 4 by FDOT.
Entry traffic on the causeway is restricted to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those with proof of residency, according to the the city of Sanibel Island. Starting October 31, residents’ access to the island will be restricted to Wednesday through Sunday each week.
The city posted the following update on conditions on the island October 20:
“Sanibel continues to be a challenging environment. There is currently no electricity to any structures and no potable water available for drinking, bathing or flushing toilets. There are no operating gasoline stations. Debris is present throughout the island and is actively being collected by the city’s debris management contractor. Also, please be aware of displaced wildlife throughout the island.”
Before, during and after photos
Superior Construction provided the following photos to show the damage to the Sanibel Causeway, construction and the finished repairs for the five sections that breeched during Hurricane Ian:
Bridge Approach A
Bridge Approach B
Island 1 Bridge Approach
Island 1 Breech
Island 2 Breech