Florida 31 provides a 36-mile link between the DeSoto County seat of Arcadia with the east Fort Myers area in Lee County. The rural state road stretches south from Florida 70 in east Arcadia through DeSoto and Charlotte counties, ending at Florida 80 (Palm Beach Boulevard) near Fort Myers Shores south of the Caloosahatchee River. The 17,000-acre Babcock Ranch master-planned community is under development along the previously rural stretch north from Lee County Road 78 into southern Charlotte County.


Florida 31 south
Florida 31 commences its 36 mile course southward to Florida 80 and Fort Myers Shores from Florida 70 on the east side of Arcadia. Photo taken 01/02/07.
DeSoto County Road 760 traverses several citrus groves on its 6.3 mile course east from SR 31 to SR 70. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Approaching DeSoto County Road 760A west along Florida 31 south. CR 760A ends at U.S. 17, 0.65 miles south of the small community of Nocatee. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Like CR 760, CR 760A passes through several citrus groves on its five-mile run to U.S. 17. Photo taken 01/02/07.
A reassurance shield for SR 31 south stands beyond DeSoto County Road 760A. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Only one major facility lies along Florida 31 in DeSoto County: G. Pierce Woods Memorial Hospital one mile south of CR 760A. The facility sits on land that was originally a part of Carlstrom Field, a pilot training facility utilized in both world wars. Otherwise, Florida 31 is mostly rural through the county, with residences and businesses sparsely dotting the road side. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Another reassurance shield appears two miles ahead of CR 763 in southern DeSoto County. Photo taken 01/02/07.
DeSoto County 763 ties into Florida 31 from the west near Prairie Creek. The local county road provides and additional link to CR 760A. Photo taken 01/02/07.
DeSoto County 763 travels nearly 8.3 miles west and north back to CR 760A southeast of Arcadia. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Florida 31 continues southeast from DeSoto County 763 toward Prairie Creek and Charlotte County. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Florida 31 enters Charlotte County 2.4 miles southeast of CR 763. The state road remains rural, next meeting CR 74 in 6.3 miles. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Much like its course through DeSoto County, Florida 31 travels through rural areas of Charlotte County. The state road turns south one mile into the county, making a beeline toward CR 74 and Lee County. Photo taken 01/02/07.
SR 31 and CR 74 come together at the rural crossroads of Bermont. CR 74 is a 42 mile east-west route linking U.S. 17 near Punta Gorda with SR 29 near U.S. 27 in Palmdale. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Flashers hang above the intersection at SR 31 and CR 74, with SR 31 representing the through movement. U.S. 17 lies 14.8 miles to the west while SR 29 lies 27.5 miles to the east.
Neighboring Glades County proposed an upgrade of the county road to a toll facility at one time. These plans never gained traction and were ultimately dropped due to cost. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Florida 31 enters the Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area south of Charlotte County 74. The area encompasses 79,013 acres of pristine wildlife and is also among the last undeveloped expanses of wet pine flatwoods in Southwest Florida. Florida 31 forms the eastern boundary of the wildlife area but provides no direct access to any facilities. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Advancing southward through Charlotte County, SR 31 reaches the vicinity of Babcock Ranch. The development straddles the Charlotte-Lee County border on 17,000 acres. The town will feature four villages and five hamlets, as well as commercial, educational and industrial parcels.1 The first residents moved into the master-planned community in 2018. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Florida 31 south enters Lee County two miles ahead of County Road 78 east. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Lee County Road 78 stems east from Florida 31, navigating along a stair stepped route parallel to the Caloosahatchee River toward Alva and neighboring Hendry County. The county road also provides access to the W.P. Franklin Campground, site of the Franklin locks along the Caloosahatchee River. Photo taken 01/02/07.
CR 78 travels 10.5 miles east from SR 31 to the rural community of Alva en route to La Belle. Alva was founded by Captain Peter Nelson and was one of the first settlements established in Southwest Florida. The community was named after the profusion of small white flowers that grew along the bank of the river that bared the same name. In 1903 the first bridge crossing the Caloosahatchee River was constructed in Alva. Old Bayshore Road continues west from CR 78 and SR 31, and at one time carried SR 78 toward North Fort Myers. Photo taken 01/02/07.
SR 78, the counterpart to CR 78, branches west from SR 31 to North Fort Myers and Cape Coral in 1.3 miles. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Florida 31 south converges with Florida 78 west (Bayshore Road) near the Lee County Civic Center. Overall Florida 78 exists in three segments between Cape Coral and Okeechobee, with this segment traveling west toward North Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Pine Island. The state road also provides a link to Interstate 75 in the Bayshore area. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Opened in 1978, Lee Civic Center is home to the Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair, typically held at the end of February. The civic center also holds various events throughout the year. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Florida 78 west serves unincorporated North Fort Myers and the city of Cape Coral en route to Matlacha and Pine Island. This iteration of Florida 78 follows Bayshore and Pine Island Roads nearly 19 miles southwest to CR 765 (Burnt Store Road) and CR 884 (Veterans Parkway) where CR 78 resumes to Pine Island and CR 767 (Stringfellow Road). A traffic light was added here sometime after 2007. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Florida 31 continues south from Florida 78 toward the Caloosahatchee River and Florida 80. Downtown Fort Myers is now a 10 mile drive and is reached via Florida 80 (Palm Beach Boulevard) west. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Florida 31 crosses the Caloosahatchee River by way of the Wilson Pigott drawbridge. Constructed in 1960, the bascule span replaced a former crossing located three miles to the east connecting with Olga. The Pigott Bridge is only one of two remaining drawbridges left in Lee County, with the other one being located in Alva along Broadway Street (former CR 78A). Photo taken 01/02/07.
SR 31 concludes at SR 80 (Palm Beach Boulevard) near Fort Myers Shores in a quarter mile. Photo taken 01/02/07.
Florida 80 spans the peninsula 132 miles from Downtown Fort Myers to Palm Beach on the Atlantic coast, passing through La Belle, Clewiston, South Bay, Belle Glade, Wellington and West Palm Beach. Photo taken 01/02/07.
SR 31 comes to an end at a traffic signal with SR 80 (Palm Beach Boulevard) across from the Shops at Verandah and Verandah Golf Club. The city of Fort Myers lies nine miles to the west along SR 80 while La Belle, county seat of Hendry County, lies 20 miles to the east. Adjoining Hendry County was carved out of Lee County in 1923. Photo taken 01/02/07.

Sources:

  1. Babcock Ranch Florida, wikipedia.org


Photo Credits:

01/02/07 by AARoads

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Florida 70
Florida 80

Page Updated 07-10-2014.