It’s been a couple of weeks now since the barrier wall was erected down the center of Estero Boulevard from the Lani Kai to just south of Miramar Street. Many of our readers have stopped in with creative stories of how they are managing to navigate around it, and more than a few of them have asked us what is happening on the other side of it. We met with Kaye Molnar – representative for both Lee County’s Estero Boulevard Reconstruction project and the Town’s Waterline Replacement project – and she told us that the wall creates a safe work area for the installation of an innovative and long-needed storm drainage system for the road.
“Lani Kai/Avenue C to Miramar is the first area where crews are digging and installing the new center lane drainage system,” Kaye told us. “Crews have milled the existing asphalt and started removing the one to two feet of roadway base. They will then ‘pot-hole’ (dig holes) in certain areas to identify possible utilities that may conflict with the new storm drain being installed. After that the crews will then dig down another five feet for a total trench depth of approximately seven feet.”
Once the trench is dug, Molnar said that workers will lay in a 24-inch diameter concrete pipe and install drainage structures.
“As they install pipe and structures, they will backfill with filter fabric and rock creating a space to store and treat stormwater before it enters the pipe,” Kaye continued. “Once all the pipe and structures are installed, crews will then form and pour concrete header curb along each side of the center lane that will hold the pervious paver blocks in place. An additional six inches of rock is then added on top of the trench to help support the paver blocks.”
The way it will work is this: instead of rainwater collecting in the middle of Estero Boulevard creating ‘lakes’ for drivers to navigate, it will drain towards the center lane, passing through the pervious pavers and into the rock below.
“Filter fabric will keep sand and debris from contaminating the rock trench which holds the stormwater runoff,” Kaye said. “Water will immediately begin to filter into the ground adjacent to the trench – much like a natural swale. Any remaining excess water enters the perforated concrete pipe, then travels to the system of stormwater outlets being installed by the Town and the County before flushing out into the back bay. This new system will provide storage and treatment for stormwater runoff and, most importantly, it is a positive step toward improving water quality in Southwest Florida.”
The final step is to put the pervious paver blocks in place, after which crews will move on to the next section.
“This is all being done in kind of a ‘leap-frog’ process, and the crews have actually begun laying the pipe in one area.” Kaye told us. “We are estimating the center lane rebuild in this area will take approximately four weeks to complete. This same process will happen four more times to reach Lovers Lane, which is the end of Segment 1 of the Estero Boulevard Reconstruction project.”
Keri Hendry Weeg