Traveling East Corkscrew Road

Did the Phase I Widening Increase Safe Travels?

Over the last ten years, housing off East Corkscrew Road (Ben Hill Griffin to Alico Road) has increased exponentially. This, in turn, resulted in increased traffic.

by Mark Novitski, contributing author

East Corkscrew Road had improvements in 2014/2015 to help with traffic, but it was not enough. Lee County Department of Transportation (LDOT) collaborated with the developer as the Wild Blue Estero, FL development was planned and approved. LDOT required the Wild Blue east entrance to line up with Bella Terra Blvd.

In 2018, with road impact fees, LDOT installed a traffic signal at Bella Terra Blvd and Corkscrew Road. In April 2021, East Corkscrew Road widening, Phase I (Ben Hill Griffin to the east border of Bella Terra) started. As the Rivercreek development was planned and approved, working with LDOT, their entrance was aligned with the west entrance of Wild Blue. In 2023, the Rivercreek developer, GL Homes, worked with LDOT to fund a traffic signal. There is still hope the Wild Blue community will pay their fair share, as the warrants are not there for LDOT to fund a traffic signal.

In late 2023, Corkscrew Road Phase II (east boundary of Bella Terra to Alico Road) is scheduled to begin (completion in 24 months plus). A traffic signal is included in the plans for Alico Road and Corkscrew Road in Phase II widening. Sometime in 2024, the construction of Corkscrew Road Phase I will be complete. This includes streetlights and sidewalks in the Lee County unincorporated areas. Sometime in 2025, the Village of Estero will complete landscaping, streetlights, and multi-use paths along Corkscrew Road within the Village of Estero.

There are additional opportunities for widening East Corkscrew Road. All are in the early planning stages: widen to three lanes to Alico Road, widen to two lanes from Alico Road to the traffic signal at the entrance to Verdana, and widen to two lanes from the traffic signal at the entrance to Verdana to the Collier County line (Kingston Community).

Although the speed limit will remain 45 mph on the widened Corkscrew Road, most area residents expect speeding to be a daily occurrence. Currently, the intersection of Estero Crossing Blvd (Rivercreek) and Wildblue Blvd (west entrance to Wild Blue) will continue to be dangerous until LDOT contracts to install the traffic signal.

The approval, permitting, construction, and installation process takes time, and as of this writing, there is no estimated start or completion date.

Two additional intersections will continue to be dangerous when turning left (west) against traffic:

1). The entrance to Wildcat Run.

2). The entrance to The Preserve at Corkscrew (Cypress Shadows Blvd).

Estimates by LDOT traffic engineers determined the warrants would not justify a traffic signal at either location. The design of Corkscrew Road widening Phase I incorporated a significantly longer left turn lane on eastbound Corkscrew Road at Wildblue Blvd (west entrance to Wild Blue) in anticipation of Wildcat Run residents exiting their community to the east and making a U-turn to travel westbound safely.

Additionally, the Phase I widening incorporated a significantly longer left turn lane on eastbound Corkscrew Road at Midnight Blue Blvd and Bella Terra Blvd (east entrance to Wild Blue) in anticipation of The Preserve at Corkscrew residents exiting their community to the east and making a U-turn to travel westbound safely.

There will be a break in the Corkscrew Road median at both locations for cars to go westbound. Currently, residents are going halfway and then westbound when it is clear. LDOT traffic engineers do not recommend this action!

As traffic increases and construction starts/continues, there will be challenges for Corkscrew Shores and Corkscrew Estates residents to go westbound on Corkscrew Road. Hopefully, the Phase II widening will have a significantly longer left turn lane on eastbound Corkscrew Road at Alico Road for U-turns.

The information below will help you to understand the traffic signal warrant process.

What is a signal warrant? A warrant is a condition that an intersection must meet to justify a signal installation. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) specifies nine “traffic control signal needs studies”, known as warrants. Warrants provide the justification we need to determine if a traffic signal is the right solution. Warrants prevent unnecessary traffic signals from being installed. It is challenging to have signals removed later when they are deemed unwarranted.

There are nine warrants outlined in section 4C.01 of the MUTCD.


01 An engineering study of traffic conditions, pedestrian characteristics, and physical characteristics of the location shall be performed to determine whether installing a traffic control signal is justified at a particular location.

02 The investigation of the need for a traffic control signal shall include an analysis of factors related to the existing operation and safety at the study location and the potential to improve these conditions and the applicable factors contained in the following traffic signal warrants:

Warrant 1, Eight-Hour Vehicular Volume

Warrant 2, Four-Hour Vehicular Volume

Warrant 3, Peak Hour

Warrant 4, Pedestrian Volume

Warrant 5, School Crossing

Warrant 6, Coordinated Signal System

Warrant 7, Crash Experience

Warrant 8, Roadway Network

Warrant 9, Intersection Near a Grade Crossing

It is essential to understand that the satisfaction of a signal warrant, or multiple warrants, shall not in itself require the installation of a traffic signal. The satisfaction of a warrant merely permits an

engineer to determine that a traffic signal should be installed. The final decision is made based on the judgment of a traffic engineer.

So why do we have this warranting procedure? Traffic signals can increase crash frequencies, specifically rear-end type crashes. For this reason (in the case of Corkscrew Road – LDOT), we want to be sure a traffic signal is the right solution to a demonstrated problem.

The need for a traffic control signal shall be considered if an engineering study finds that all the following criteria are met:

  1. Adequate trial of alternatives with satisfactory observance and enforcement has failed to reduce the crash frequency and
  2. Five or more reported crashes of types susceptible to correction by a traffic control signal have occurred within 12 months, each crash involving personal injury or property damage exceeding the applicable requirements for a reportable crash and
  3. For each of any 8 hours of an average day, the vehicles per hour (mph) given in both of the 80 percent columns of Condition A in Table 4C-1 (see Section 4C.02) or the vph in both of the 80 percent columns of Condition B in Table 4C-1 exists on the major-street, and the higher-volume minor-street approach, respectively, to the intersection, or the volume of pedestrian traffic is not less than 80 percent of the requirements specified in the Pedestrian Volume warrant. These major-street and minor-street volumes shall be for the same 8 hours. On the minor street, the higher volume shall not be required to be on the same approach during the 8 hours.

So, what can the residents of Wildcat Run and The Preserve at Corkscrew do? Be cautious and turn left when traffic is light or turn right when traffic is heavy and make a U-turn as soon as they can get in the left lane.

The last and most unpopular possibility is having the communities agree to fund a traffic signal. This can be cost-prohibitive, approaching $500k per traffic signal.

Corkscrew Road is a Lee County Road (850), and there is only so much the Village of Estero can do. Corkscrew Road widening Phase II is outside the Village of Estero in unincorporated Lee County. LDOT has held multiple meetings on Corkscrew Road widening. Sign up for updates on Corkscrew Road widening efforts to keep informed.

It would be best to consider contacting your Lee County Commissioner to address any issues.


The Warrant Process includes the following:

  1. Collect traffic data for the 24 hours
  2. Observe field conditions
  3. Parse traffic data for analysis of traffic demand by periods
  4. Determine link traffic demands
  5. Follow FDOT’s Manual on Intersection Control Evaluation or ICE
  6. Perform traffic signal warrant analysis
  7. Determine if warrant conditions are met

While the Village of Estero and the residents of Estero are concerned about the actual and potential vehicle accidents, with or without personal injury, there are criteria in the MUTCD addressing vehicle accidents.

Engage Estero is an all-volunteer, nonpolitical, nonprofit Community Engagement Association. We exist to inform citizens of significant community issues and encourage citizen engagement to favorably impact the quality of life in greater Estero.

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