Fort Myers' Famous Bridges
Welcome to Fort Myers' Attractions
DEKit Fort Myers is surrounded by awesome tourist attractions and places our customers can take their boats and enjoy their DEKit custom boat flooring. Whether you are local or traveling to the Fort Myers area, we felt you should know about top places to visit and take your boat.
Matanzas Pass Bridge
The Matanzas Pass Bridge (also locally known as the Sky Bridge, or the Fort Myers Beach Bridge) is a bridge located in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. It carries State Road 865 (San Carlos Boulevard) between the Florida mainland (via San Carlos Island) and Estero Island, which is a major tourist destination. The bridge is one of the island's two connections to the mainland. The other is the Bonita Beach Causeway on the south end of the island.
The current Matanzas Pass Bridge opened in 1979, and is 65 feet (20 m) tall. It was the tallest bridge in Lee County when it was built, but it was surpassed in 2007 by the first bridge of the Sanibel Causeway, which is 70 feet (21 m) tall. The current bridge has two traffic lanes, one for northbound traffic and one for southbound traffic. There is also a pedestrian lane, which is separated from the rest of the bridge by a concrete barrier. Fishing piers also exist underneath the bridge on each side. The bridge's current blue color was added in 2011, making it resemble the Jewfish Creek Bridge in Key Largo.
The original Matanzas Pass Bridge was a small wooden drawbridge built in 1921. The roadway connecting to the bridge originally ran from the bridge along the coast to present-day Bunche Beach where it connected to John Morris Road, which goes on to McGregor Boulevard.
The original wooden bridge had a 54-cent toll. At this point, San Carlos Island was part of the mainland. A major hurricane in 1926 destroyed the original bridge, only five years after it was built. This same hurricane also separated what is now San Carlos Island from the mainland, making the road impassible.
The body of water created by the hurricane separating San Carlos Island from the mainland was appropriately named Hurricane Pasa. In 1927, a concrete swing bridge was installed to replace the original. San Carlos Boulevard was also constructed at this time as a more direct route to replace the original road. The swing bridge was a recycled bridge that formerly operated on the east coast of Florida. An electric motor was installed on the bridge in 1950 due to the area's rapidly growing shrimping industry, which caused the span to be opened frequently. Despite being motorized, the bridge was old and unreliable, and island residents feared that the bridge would fail and strand them in the event of an emergency, such as a hurricane evacuation. This concern led to the construction of Bonita Beach Causeway at the southern end of the island in 1965.
The Edison Bridge
The Edison Bridge is the name given to a set of two one-way bridges located in Fort Myers, Florida. Named after inventor Thomas Alva Edison, the two bridges carry each direction of U.S. Highway 41 Business (US 41 Bus.) over the Caloosahatchee River, connecting downtown Fort Myers (on the southern shore) with North Fort Myers.
The two bridges each have three lanes and are 55 feet (17 m) tall. They land at the same point on the north side of the river but are separated by a few blocks on the south side since US 41 Bus. runs on two separate one-way streets in Downtown Fort Myers. When looking on a map, the two spans and the south bank of the river form a right triangle. The two bridges were built in the early 1990s, replacing a single two-lane drawbridge which also bore the name Edison Bridge. The original bridge, which was located on the site of the southbound span, was once part of the Tamiami Trail.
The original Edison Bridge opened for traffic on February 11, 1931, the 84th birthday of its namesake Thomas Edison. Edison, who had a winter home in Fort Myers, dedicated the bridge, and was also the first to drive across it.
The original Edison Bridge was built to carry the Tamiami Trail, which had previously crossed the river on a narrow wooden bridge upstream that opened on March 12, 1924. This bridge was located in East Fort Myers at Freemont Street and connected to what is today known as Old Bridge Road in North Fort Myers. Construction of the bridge at Freemont Street was initially started by a private company with the intention of making it a toll bridge. Lee County planned to use the Freemont Street bridge for its portion of the planned Tamiami Trail, but the federal government would not designate it as part of a U.S. Highway if the bridge had a toll. So, the county purchased the bridge and completed its construction.
The Freemont Street bridge was only intended to be a temporary crossing of the Caloosahatchee River for the Tamiami Trail. It was too far east of downtown Fort Myers and was too narrow, making passing difficult. A couple of locations were determined as potential sites for a permanent bridge, including Carson Street west of downtown (which would later become the location of the Caloosahatchee Bridge). But it was ultimately decided that a new bridge, which would become the Edison Bridge, would connect Fowler Street (east of downtown) with a rerouted portion of the Tamiami Trail (US 41) on the north side. After the Edison Bridge opened, the bridge at Freemont Street remained in service as a secondary bridge until 1940, when the wooden structure was destroyed by a fire.
Midpoint Memorial Bridge
The Midpoint Memorial Bridge (often referred to as simply the Midpoint Bridge) is a bridge located in Southwest Florida. It spans the Caloosahatchee River, connecting Fort Myers and Cape Coral. It is a four-lane fixed span that is 1.125 miles (1.811 km) long. The bridge is so named because its placement situates it roughly halfway between the Cape Coral Bridge to the south, and the Caloosahatchee Bridge to the north. It carries County Road 884, which is known as Colonial Boulevard on the Fort Myers side, and Veterans Parkway on the Cape Coral side.
Building a second bridge between Cape Coral and Fort Myers was first proposed in the 1970s, but construction was delayed for many years, largely due to opposition in Fort Myers. After a series of court battles, reaching the Florida Supreme Court, construction began in 1995, and the bridge opened for traffic on October 19, 1997. Earlier in 1959, the bridge’s location was considered as possible location of the Cape Coral Bridge before its current location was determined.
The Midpoint Memorial Bridge was constructed as part of the extension of Colonial Boulevard into Cape Coral. Before construction, Colonial Boulevard terminated at State Road 867 (McGregor Boulevard), which runs parallel to the river. In Cape Coral, CR 884 (locally known as Veterans Parkway) now terminates at SR 78 (Pine Island Road) near Matlacha, and includes an overpass over the intersection with Del Prado Boulevard (CR 867A). The addition of the Midpoint Memorial Bridge resulted in several ancillary road projects in Fort Myers as well. Colonial Boulevard was widened to six lanes and overpasses were constructed over McGregor Boulevard and at the intersection with US 41.
The bridge is owned by the Lee County Department of Transportation. There is a two-dollar toll in effect for westbound vehicles only and no toll for eastbound traffic. Florida’s statewide SunPass prepaid electronic toll collection system is accepted on the Midpoint Bridge, along with Lee County’s Leeway prepaid toll system which is also used on the Cape Coral Bridge and the Sanibel Causeway.
On the Cape Coral side of the bridge, there is a replica of the statue from the Marine Corps War Memorial in Rosslyn, Virginia (which is just outside Washington, D.C.). The statue depicts the six U.S Marines raising the American flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima. On the Fort Myers side, there is a small Vietnam War Memorial.
There are many bridges throughout the Fort Myers area that you can enjoy with a leisurely family boat ride or fishing adventure. Especially for fishing, bridges offer pockets where pools of fish hang out. Speak with your local fish tackle provider for bait and tackle advice. And if you happen to make a mess of your DEKit boat foam flooring, no worries. We have an article on how to properly clean boat foam flooring to keep it in great shape and lasting a long time.