More than 150 people came to the German-American Club on Pine Island Road to see the proposed expansion of Pine Island Road from Chiquita Boulevard to Burnt Store Road.
The expansion will serve as an evacuation route for residents west of Burnt Store.
Many arrived before the scheduled 4:30 p.m. start July 12 with questions for Debbie Tower, Florida Department of Transportation director of information.
"We want to be sure we can answer questions about designs produced," Tower said. "Most questions are about where medians will be placed and about new traffic lights."
Potential growth, with Wal-Mart and other businesses expected to build in the area, could attract more businesses, especially on Burnt Store Road, which will be widened next.
"It's a tremendous opportunity and it ties in with the Burnt Store widening," said Dana Brunett, economic director for Cape Coral. "We need a better tax base, more jobs and more investment. This type of widening creates that."
Hal Arkin of Remax Realty deals in commercial property. He looked for an understanding of the U-turns needed to reach the shopping center.
"I'm trying to understand how this will affect present businesses and future business," Arkin said. "Another issue is utilities. You have to have water and sewers and they stop at Chiquita."
Tim Frederick, owner of the future McDonald's at the Publix Shopping Center, has a vested interest in traffic patterns.
"We want to assure we have the best access possible for us," Frederick said. "We can't go wrong with this location. We're happy we're able to do this."
No new lights are planned along the 2-mile stretch, which will have five medians: at Nott Road; Saddlewood Lane, across from the German-American Club; at Williamson and Sons and Marine Concepts; Sandoval; and Cemex Concrete.
Selina Carroll, FDOT access management specialist, said businesses with large trucks were considered.
"We tried to accommodate as much as possible," Carroll said. "We didn't want the trucks to turn at the corner of Publix."
Jay Johnson, owner of Bubba's Roadhouse and Saloon, worried 15 months of construction would kill business with where the medians were to be placed.
"The biggest concern I have is access to our property. We want good turns into our building from Pine Island," Johnson said. "The state has done a good job. We just need 10 feet for the median."
Bubba's eastbound customers would need to make a U-turn in front of the German American Club, then a sharp right. Those leaving Bubba's would have to travel a quarter-mile to U-turn to go east.
Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan liked what he saw.
"I think it's going to be good for the city. It's needed. I think we'll see lots of development once it's completed," Sullivan said. "This is more than about Cape Coral."
Construction is scheduled to begin next year with completion in two years.