All good suspensions must come to an end.
And so it goes for the Sanibel Causeway. Lee County officials had suspended tolls on the roadway as a result of Hurricane Ian that hit Southwest Florida on Sept. 28.
The causeway, which had extensive damage after Ian, was reopened with restrictions to allow access to residents and recovery workers only after temporary repairs made it operational by Oct. 19.
These restrictions will remain for the being — but the $6 toll resumes at 6 a.m. Jan. 1, Lee County officials announced this month.
This means Sanibel-Captiva islands have resumed normal toll operations on the third of the three toll bridges. The county had restored tolls Nov. 1 to the Cape Coral Bridge and the Midpoint Bridge after the suspension of tolls on all three bridges shortly before Hurricane Ian’s landfall.
Sanibel’s entry-pass requirement is still in place.
Deputy City Manager Steven Chaipel told the Fort Myers News-Press that there are ongoing discussions on the elimination of the checkpoint and pass access for the island, but a decision on resuming pre-hurricane access has not yet been made.
“We are hoping within the next week or so, but nothing definite yet,” he told the News-Press.
For residents and workers
The county’s LeeWay toll program will honor its discount programs for Sanibel residents who had them before the storm through Jan. 31, according to Lee County. Sanibel-based LeeWay customers can renew their programs for 2023 online at www.leegov.com/tolls, or call 239-533-9297.
Contractors doing work on Sanibel can visit the website to get a free LeeWay transponder and to deposit funds into an account to avoid paying a $3 administrative fee applied to those without transponders. Transponders from SunPass and E-ZPass also work. The three county toll bridges are all-electronic and no cash.