With thousands of visitors coming to our island next weekend for the 58th Annual Lion’s Club Shrimp Festival, we decided to get in touch with Kaye Molnar – spokesperson for the Town’s waterline replacement project and Lee County’s Estero Boulevard reconstruction project to find out what the construction plans are for next week and where the projects stand to date.
“As far as the Shrimp Festival, we plan to work until Thursday (March 10th) and then spend all day Friday (March 11th) cleaning up and getting everything cleared out in time for the parade,” Kaye told us. “There will probably be one area that will be closed – between Del Mar and Pearl Streets – but the rest of the route will be open, we just ask that people stay off the barricades and barrels that remain and try not to knock them over.”
A couple of weeks ago, Mayor Anita Cereceda asked that some changes be made to the project to make it easier on local businesses, and Molnar confirmed that most of them have been made and the rest will be.
“We are now doing all milling and paving at night, we have added more flaggers and will be getting new bright green shirts for them soon – to make them more visible – and we’ve cracked down on construction machinery being parked in front of businesses after hours,” she said. “Construction zones are being kept cleaner and we will soon have crosswalks in those zones lit up at night for pedestrians.”
Kaye told us that the Town’s waterline replacement project is pretty much complete, with a few remaining people on site to shut down the old water main.
“On Friday (March 4th), well be restriping the north bound lane, and next week, we’re going to repave pretty much all of the south bound lane from Crescent Street to Lover’s Lane as it’s pretty lumpy right now,” she said. “This will not be the final, finished road as that’s part of the County’s project, but it will make the parade route a lot easier going.”
Kaye says the county’s project is humming along smoothly, with the sanitary sewer lines installed to DiamondHead as of press time.
“Basically, they do the sidewalk demolition first, then they put the conduit in, and then they reconstruct the sidewalk,” she said. “Sometimes it may seem that work is slow going, but that’s because we may have to stop and put in a structure. We’re also trying to pressure test the new pipe as we go along.”
Once the new sewer lines are in, county workers are putting in the new 9’ foot sidewalks and curbing, some of which can be seen in the areas just south of Crescent Street. They will then work on replacing and improving the road, which will include drainage improvements.
“There are a couple of areas – like between Yo Taco and Norm’s Beach Parking – where asphalt and pavement are mixed, but don’t worry – this is only temporary as we try to maintain a walkable surface for pedestrians,” she said. “The finished product will be beautiful.”
Molnar told us that two lanes of traffic are kept open at all times during this work, and that pedestrians are rerouted to an adjacent newly asphalted area to walk on while the sidewalk is torn up.
“That’s pretty much what’s going to be happening over the next few weeks -the crews will keep working south,” she told us.
Have questions or want more information? Visit www.reFRESHFMBeach.com for construction information. You may sign up on the website to receive emails about the project. If you have questions or concerns during construction, contact the reFRESH Estero Boulevard public information officer, Kaye Molnar, Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc. at 239-337-1071 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keri Hendry Weeg