Big changes are coming next week for motorists on Estero Boulevard. With the sanitary sewer line installation making its way to School Street and the end of the first segment, workers for Lee County’s Estero Boulevard Reconstruction Project will begin grading the south bound (Gulf side) lane from Avenue C to Miramar Street in preparation of putting in the center line drainage system.
“This is going to be a big shift in regards to what people are used to seeing,” said Kaye Molnar, spokesperson for the project. “When the project is finished, the new drainage system will actually be in the middle of the boulevard, so the road will slope towards the center. Since there is already a drainage system in place from Crescent Street to Avenue C (near the Lani Kai), it’s not necessary to put one in, but we will be putting in the new system from Avenue C south to – eventually – the entire island.”
The way it will work is this: for short segments at a stretch – such as Avenue C to Miramar – workers will first grade the southbound lane, then dig a trench in the center lane to accommodate the new system, then grade the northbound lane, then put sidewalks in on the Gulf side followed by sidewalks on the bay side. All of this will take about 3 months per segment so businesses won’t have to endure it for very long.
“What will take some getting used to will be the fact that the road will be at different heights, so there will be a barrier wall going down the center of Estero while that segment is being worked on,” Kaye said. “We will have openings at Avenue C, Alva Drive (near Hooters) and Miramar, but this will require people to make U-turns to get where they are going. And be prepared to go up or down as the road will not be the same height.”
When we met with her Wednesday, Kaye said she is spending the rest of this week meeting with businesses along that route to let them know what’s going to happen.
“The good news for places like the Sea Gypsy is that – once those 3 months are over – the project is essentially done and will no longer be in front of their business,” Kaye said. “And two lanes will always be open, it will just be different.”
Once the Avenue C – Miramar section is complete, Kaye said the project will skip a section and move to, perhaps, DiamondHead to Mango Street, then skip again – with workers returning to the skipped sections once the project reaches the end of segment one by Red Coconut.
“This way we can keep the traffic flowing, though it will shift from one side to the other,” Kaye said.
In other Estero Boulevard project news, Molnar told us the Town’s waterline replacement project for the first segment of Estero is pretty much complete and that Florida Power & Light – working at night only – began the process of moving the power poles last Sunday evening.
For more information and project updates, visit www.refreshfmbeach.com.
Keri Hendry Weeg