Margaritaville bridge pops into place over Estero Blvd. on Fort Myers Beach | In the Know

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The pedestrian bridge that connects the Margaritaville properties on Fort Myers Beach was placed over Estero Boulevard in the early morning hours of Friday.
The pedestrian bridge that connects the Margaritaville properties on Fort Myers Beach was placed over Estero Boulevard in the early morning hours of Friday.

A Sinatra song, not a Buffett ballad, came to mind as the new Margaritaville bridge lowered over Fort Myers Beach Friday morning.

Nice n' Easy does it.

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And just like that, into place went a 70-foot pedestrian gangplank with the aim of making it safer to cross Estero Boulevard while providing greater access to the new resort targeted to open about 13 months from now.

The pedestrian bridge that connects the Margaritaville properties on Fort Myers Beach was placed over Estero Boulevard in the early morning hours of Friday.
The pedestrian bridge that connects the Margaritaville properties on Fort Myers Beach was placed over Estero Boulevard in the early morning hours of Friday.

"That bridge is super cool," said an "excited" Robin Popovich, who lives north of Matanzas Pass and had another word for it all: "Awesome."

Functional could also describe the elevated path that will be donated to local government. In the past, drivers have often stopped to let those on foot pass across. TPI Hospitality's hope is that the $3.5 million overhead walkway near Crescent Street will help with traffic flow, Co-CEO Tom Torgerson said.

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At 17 feet above the Earth, the overpass comes with public restrooms to go with a pair of elevators and stairways.

Construction of the connection occurred offsite as workers prepared the skyway's slot for the drop-in during the wee hours of Friday, Torgerson said.

TPI's making other moves with the bottleneck in mind, removing more than a half-dozen previous ingresses and egresses along the congested main two-lane drag. Those have shifted to Crescent and Fifth Street, Torgerson said.

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He said his team is also working with the state Department of Transportation on the $7.9 million undertaking slated to begin next year for improving roadway, stoplights, motorist movement and landscaping between the complex site and Hurricane Pass.

Concerns with car jams still haven't gone away, as a few of you have shared with me or via social media. And there's worries the $200 million modernization will affect the area's vibe.

"You can get that type of beach atmosphere anywhere," Cape Coral resident Debbie Henry said of the 254-room Jimmy Buffett-themed venture. "The quaint, laid back atmosphere of Fort Myers Beach is what separated it from all the rest."

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In the Know: A public overpass by the Margaritaville resort under construction is slated to take Fort Myers Beach pedestrians above Estero Boulevard, near Crescent Street, which is misidentified in this public record.
In the Know: A public overpass by the Margaritaville resort under construction is slated to take Fort Myers Beach pedestrians above Estero Boulevard, near Crescent Street, which is misidentified in this public record.

But others note how that section of the island had deteriorated, escalated in part by Hurricane Charley's violent strike almost two decades ago.

The pedestrian bridge that connects the Margaritaville properties on Fort Myers Beach was placed over Estero Boulevard in the early morning hours of Friday.
The pedestrian bridge that connects the Margaritaville properties on Fort Myers Beach was placed over Estero Boulevard in the early morning hours of Friday.

"This project is going to bring a lot of money (there), which was getting rundown and very trashy in the past 10 years," Fort Myers resident Christine Nicole said. "The beach needed a revamp, or it was going to turn into Daytona."

Based at the Naples Daily News, Columnist Phil Fernandez (pfernandez@gannett.com) writes In the Know as part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Support Democracy and subscribe to a newspaper.

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Margaritaville bridge goes up on SWFL's Jimmy Buffett-inspired project