Last Friday, Kaye Molnar – spokesperson for both the Town’s waterline replacement project and Lee County’s reconstruction of Estero Boulevard project – reported that County crews completed the installation of 6,000 linear feet of a new sanitary sewer main line and have successfully made all the connections.
“This is a real milestone – it marks the completion of three major utility systems – the new water line, TECO gas line, and sewer line – within Segment 1 (Crescent Street to Red Coconut) of the Estero Boulevard improvements,” Kaye said. “Now, the last utility to be installed is the storm drainage system.”
Those who are tired of bouncing up the northbound lane of Estero are in for some good news, too, as Kaye told us that crews will be patching and leveling the road from Lovers Lane to Crescent Street this week in anticipation of the coming Fourth of July holiday weekend.
“While we are doing this, flaggers will alternate traffic frequently, but there may be some delays,” Kaye said. “Repairs to the northbound lane are being done to temporarily smooth out the pavement until it is regraded, then rebuilt and paved in the new inverted crown design.”
That design is part of the county’s innovative new stormwater drainage system for the portion of Estero Boulevard it owns (Time Square south).
“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 (concrete) barrier wall going down the center of Estero while that segment is being worked on,” Kaye said.
Molnar told us that – in the segment between Avenue C (Lani Kai) and Miramar – Comcast is busy working at night this week moving their services and then, as soon as they are done, FP&L will pull their poles.
“FP&L will probably be doing their work at the beginning of next week, so there may be lane closures,” she said. “Then, when they are done, we patch the holes and widen the area in preparation for re-opening the southbound lane for that stretch by July 6th,” she said. “This means work will move to the center lane, so barricades will still be in place. We will have openings at Avenue C, Alva Drive (near Hooters), Avenue E, 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.”
In the next short segment, Palm Avenue to Chapel Street, the southbound lane is completely closed as workers are connecting the underground conduits.
“We are looking at a completion date of the end of 2016 for all of Segment 1 of Estero Boulevard reconstruction,” Kaye told us. “But I think people will get excited when they see the first little section – Lani Kai to Miramar – finished because then they will understand how nice it’s all going to look.”
Keri Hendry Weeg