Florida State Road 739

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State Road 739 marker

State Road 739
Michael G. Rippe Parkway
Metro Parkway
Evans Avenue
Fowler Street
Route information
Maintained by FDOT
Length 16.951 mi[1] (27.280 km)
Major junctions
South end US 41 near San Carlos Park
  SR 80 in Fort Myers
SR 78 in North Fort Myers
North end US 41 near Cape Coral
Highway system
SR 736 SR 742

State Road 739 (SR 739) is a 17-mile-long (27 km) commercial highway running from San Carlos Park, Florida to North Fort Myers that is also known as U.S. Route 41 Business for the northernmost six miles (9.7 km) of its route.

Route description[edit]

The southern terminus of SR 739 is an intersection with US 41 near San Carlos Park. SR 739 is known as Michael G. Rippe Parkway for its first three miles. Immediately north of the southern terminus is an interchange with Alico Road (CR 840) which includes only a southbound exit and northbound entrance. SR 739 crosses the interchange and the Seminole Gulf Railway on a large overpass. From the Alico interchange, SR 739 becomes six lanes and continues north, paralleling the Seminole Gulf Railway and passing through the Briarcliff neighborhood.

At its intersection with Six Mile Cypress Parkway (SR 865) in south Fort Myers, SR 739 becomes known as Metro Parkway and continues northward. It is reduced to five lanes with a middle turn lane at the intersection with Daniels Parkway (CR 876). SR 739 then passes to the east of the Villas neighborhood, Page Field, and the Chico's World Headquarters. It intersects with Colonial Boulevard (SR 884), Lee County's primary east-west highway, shortly after entering Fort Myers city limits.

At Winkler Avenue, SR 739 becomes six lanes again and turns northwest. An overpass carries it over the Ten Mile Canal and the Seminole Gulf Railway. At LeeTran Boulevard, the northbound lanes continue onto Evans Avenue, while the southbound lanes connect to Fowler Street.

SR 739 continues north along Evans Avenue and Fowler Street. Currently, Evans Avenue is a one-way street north of LeeTran Boulevard, and has three northbound lanes while Fowler Street carries four lanes of bi-directional traffic. This unusual configuration continues to just south of downtown Fort Myers at the intersection of State Road 82 (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard). Fowler Street's northbound lanes terminate at SR 82, and from here north, Evans Avenue (which becomes Park Avenue shortly after SR 82) carries all northbound traffic, and Fowler Street carries all southbound traffic with three lanes each.

At the intersection with SR 80 just east of downtown Fort Myers, SR 739 becomes concurrent with U.S. Route 41 Business, and SR 739 becomes a hidden designation from this point north. It then intersects SR 80 and crosses the Caloosahatchee River on the Edison Bridge. The northbound and southbound streets rejoin into a single six-lane roadway at the north end of the Edison Bridge spans, and travel into North Fort Myers, Florida along the original Tamiami Trail.

SR 739 is then reduced to four lanes divided after the intersection of Pine Island Road/Bayshore Road (SR 78), and terminates shortly after at the mainline of US 41 north of North Fort Myers.

History[edit]

The northern portion of SR 739 through North Fort Myers was originally part of the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Route 41), a roadway connecting Tampa and Miami. The route through North Fort Myers was completed by 1931, and was part of US 41 until 1964 when it moved to a new alignment to the west.

The Metro Parkway portion of SR 739 initially ran from Hanson Street (at Old Metro Parkway) to Colonial Boulevard in the 1980s, but was extended to Daniels Parkway due to a boom in need for new business sites. It was extended to Six Mile Cypress Parkway in the early 1990s due to the building of Gulf Coast Medical Center.[2]

SR 739 was split into its current alignment of one-way street pairs north of SR 82 in the early 1990s when the current dual Edison Bridge spans were completed, replacing the original drawbridge.[3] More of Evans Avenue was converted to one-way as far south as Hanson Street in 2008 to carry SR 739 northbound. This was part of a larger project that would have later converted the adjacent segment of Fowler Street to one-way to be Evans Avenue's southbound counterpart. However, further conversion of Fowler Street was heavily opposed by the city of Fort Myers and local business owners, and was subsequently cancelled (though Evans Avenue's conversion had already been completed).[4]

SR 739 was extended to its current southern terminus in late 2012 with the completion of the Michael G. Rippe Parkway portion. That extension, which was named for former Florida Department of Transportation district director Michael G. Rippe, had been planned as early as the 1990s and was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.[5]

The current alignment of SR 739 between Winkler Avenue and Hanson Street was completed in late 2015. Prior to then, SR 739 continued north along Old Metro Parkway and connected to Fowler Street via Hanson Street.

Evans Avenue is named for Major James Evans, who is one of the founders of Fort Myers.[6]

Major intersections[edit]

The entire route is in Lee County.

Location mi[1] km Destinations Notes
0.000 0.000 US 41 (Tamiami Trail / SR 45) – Naples, Fort Myers Southern terminus
0.34 0.55 Alico Road (CR 840 east) to I-75 Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance; western terminus of CR 840
2.785 4.482 SR 865 south / CR 865 north (Six Mile Cypress Parkway) to US 41 – Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, Airport Northern terminus of SR 865; southern terminus of CR 865
4.042 6.505 CR 876 (Daniels Parkway) to I-75 – Airport
Fort Myers 7.600 12.231 SR 884 (Colonial Boulevard) to I-75
Fowler Street (CR 863 south) Access from southbound one-way SR 739 only; northern terminus of CR 863
11.123 17.901 SR 82 (Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) to I-75 – Imaginarium
11.523 18.544 SR 80 east (Second Street) to I-75 South end of US 41 Bus. concurrency (northbound)
11.666 18.775 SR 80 west (First Street) South end of US 41 Bus. concurrency (southbound)
Caloosahatchee River
(Okeechobee Waterway)
11.723–
12.723
18.866–
20.476
Edison Bridge
North Fort Myers 13.373 21.522 CR 78A west (Pondella Road) Eastern terminus of CR 78A
14.425 23.215 SR 78 (Pine Island Road / Bayshore Road) to I-75 – Lee Civic Center, Cape Coral
16.951 27.280 US 41 (Cleveland Avenue / Tamiami Trail / SR 45) Northern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b FDOT straight line diagrams Archived March 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., accessed March 2014
  2. ^ Rathgeber, Bob (11 June 2011). "No takers for Metro Parkway Extension work in Lee County". The News-Press. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "U.S. 41 Business - Fort Myers & North Fort Myers". AA Roads. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "Fort Myers Mobility Plan" (PDF). Spikowski Planning Associates. Retrieved 27 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Dana, Leigh (21 October 2012). "Metro Parkway extension open Sunday". WBBH-TV. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "People of influence: Maj. James Evans". News-Press. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2018.