The reFRESH Estero Boulevard Projects continue, with various work on-going in all three active segments, with major Segment 2 construction starting soon.
“In Segment 1, from the Matanzas Pass Bridge to the Red Coconut RV Park, we are down to punch list items and brick paver replacement,” said Kaye Molnar, spokesperson for the projects from Cella Molnar & Associates. “Redoing the center lane pavers is frustrating for the management team and manufacturer, with all of us working to solve the problems. As we’ve said since the beginning, reFRESH Estero Boulevard is complicated, and we concentrate on the positives, like the drainage works perfectly!”
One recent completion are roadway markings, including “sharrows,” and Kaye cautions motorists to be aware of these in Segment 1. “’Sharrows’ mean bicyclists can either share the nine-foot-wide sidewalks with pedestrians, or the north or south lanes on Estero Boulevard with motorists. If you are driving behind a bicyclist, you cannot pass them unless you can do it safely in the left-turn lane. This will be immaterial soon, as from the Red Coconut south there will be five-foot dedicated bike lines on each side of the roadway.”
Another recent Segment 1 improvement is moving LeeTran trolley stops to new locations at the trolley pull-offs. “We had to shift many of these a bit, to match up with the new stops and crosswalks,” Kaye said. “People tell us the trolley pull-offs are one of the best things about the project!”
As for Segment 2, preparation for major construction from Lovers Lane to Voorhis Street continues. “There is one power pole we need to relocate,” Kaye said. “A crucial element is to maintain access for the Fire Station, so we will keep either Voorhis Street or Donora Boulevard open during construction. Major roadway work will start on the northbound lane on the bay side, move to the center, then finish on the southbound lane. Sadly, because of the significant drop in elevation between lanes, this unfortunately means the return of the dreaded concrete wall, from Lovers Lane to Voorhis!”
Construction of the first four Segment 2 joint storm water outfalls for Bayview Avenue, Eucalyptus Court, Hercules Drive and Jefferson Street cannot yet begin, Kaye offers, “until we receive permits from the Army Corp of Engineers. We submitted these over seven months ago, so it is disappointing that we are still waiting.”
Initial Segment 3 construction involves sewer force main work on the bay side, “where we left off, at Publix Supermarket,” Kaye explains, “as well as clearing right-of-way. Fortunately, this area is more residential, so we are not encountering many encroachments, with most involving landscaping.”
Finally, Kaye again implored everyone to “please be patient! I know it seems like this has already gone on beyond ridiculous, but Lee County and the Town keep pushing to make sure the work is acceptable to the residents.”