With the Fourth of July holiday over, work on the new center lane drainage system for the first segment of Lee County’s Estero Boulevard reconstruction project began in earnest this week, as workers erected a barricade on both sides of the center turn lane from the Lani Kai to Miramar Street, causing traffic delays as barricades were lifted into place.
“This week, the center turn lane of Estero Boulevard will close from Lani Kai to Miramar Street while crews demo and begin digging the trench for the center lane drainage system” said Kaye Molnar of Cella Molnar and Associates, spokesperson for both the county’s road project and the Town’s waterline replacement project. “During this closure, solid barrier wall and/or construction barrels will be necessary on both sides of the center lane. Vehicles will NOT be able to cross or enter the solid barrier wall center lane.”
Molnar said that businesses located along this section may need to use smaller delivery vehicles.
“Motorists should expect to make U-turns when accessing properties on the opposite side of the road from the travel lane,” she said. “Motorists exiting side streets between Avenue C and Miramar Street wanting to turn left must make right turns onto Estero Boulevard and then make a U-turn. All side streets will be open.”
Kaye explained that crews have re-graded the southbound lane of Estero Boulevard from Lani Kai to Miramar Street as the first step in building the new inverted crown roadway to accommodate the center lane drainage system.
Commissioner Larry Kiker told us that is where the county will do their stormwater management of Estero Boulevard – a road it owns from Time Square south to Big Carlos Pass.
“We’ve never captured the water from that road before – we’ve never treated it,” he said. “Our drainage system will allow us to capture that water and treat it before it moves into the Town’s stormwater system – meaning that the water flowing from our road will be clean.”
Molnar said, once the drainage system is in place, crews will re-grade the center lane and then remove the barrier between the south bound and center lanes – something she expects to take about 3 or 4 weeks, weather permitting.
“Keep in mind that we have not done any digging in the center lane yet so we don’t know what’s down there,” Kaye said. “The 3 to 4 weeks is a conservative estimate depending on the underground conditions.”
Kaye says that the barrier wall will remain between the northbound and center lanes while crews regrade, rebuild and pave the northbound lane.
“While that is being done, the two travel lanes will shift to the Gulf side of the road so it will be a flip-flop of what people have been experiencing the last few weeks in that the barricades will be in front of the bay side businesses,” Molnar said.
Kaye once again asked for patience during this process, saying that workers are going to take full advantage of the coming slow months to move as fast as they can.
“This project replaces or relocates underground utilities and builds new roadway and bicycle and pedestrian facilities along the entire length of Estero Boulevard,” Kaye said. “Improvements include sidewalks on both sides of the road, trolley stops, drainage improvements on Estero Boulevard and connection to Town drainage projects, and relocation of existing utilities including FPL power poles, telephone and cable lines, sewer force mains and water lines. Additionally, plans include accommodating a gas line.”
Visit the project website at www.reFRESHFMBeach.com for the latest project information. Anyone with further questions about the project may contact Lee County’s Public Information Officer for this project, Kaye Molnar, Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc. at 239-337-1071, (toll-free) 877-496-1076 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.