Rotonda West residents concerned with bridge repair timetable; cite safety issues

Article Courtesy of  WINK NEWS

By Taylor Wirtz

Published January 22, 2023



It could be two years before a bridge might be back to normal after Hurricane Ian. The bridge on Rotonda Boulevard South was hit hard by Ian, and it’s been closed ever since, making life difficult for those who live there.

The detour people have to take to get home is a pain and causes more issues with traffic. Residents went before the Charlotte County Commissioners to plead for help.

There are families, neighbors, and strangers who share a similar fear. In case of an emergency, there is no fast way for first responders to get to them.

The people have lived this reality since the hurricane damaged their bridge on Rotonda Boulevard South.


“Hurricane Ian took out the seawall, and the pilings [that] hold your bridge up. So the bridge is still there. But you couldn’t use it,” said Sam Besase, treasurer for the Rotonda West Homeowner’s Association.

Andy Van Scyoc, the president of the Rotonda West Homeowner’s Association, said it could be two years before their primary safety worry is repaired. “The two years out seems not acceptable.”

Until the bridge is repaired, everyone, including first responders, will have to go at least four miles out of their way to get where they’re going. In case of an emergency, seconds matter, and four miles could be the difference between life and death.

“Four miles is a lot of extra coverage. Especially if the dire situation like an emergency vehicle or fire truck or whatever,” said Van Scyoc.

The people of Rotonda West are pressing Charlotte County for a quicker solution, like the temporary bridge built on the Sanibel Causeway.

“We mentioned the Sanibel Causeway took three weeks. And so why should this take any longer,” said Besase.

“There’s got to be something they can do. I mean, we got to have the technology to get this roadway functioning again,” Van Scyoc said.

The Rotonda West Homeowners Association says the bridge’s fate is in Charlotte County’s hands. They vow that until something is done, they’ll keep coming to commissioner’s meetings to demand a quicker solution.