The $80 million, five-year reFRESH Estero Boulevard Projects are at its first-crossroads. “Segment 1 from the Matanzas Pass Bridge to Lovers Lane will be done in early May,” explained Kaye Molnar of Cella Molnar & Associates, spokesperson for the projects, to roughly 200 people at the Bay Oaks Recreation Center on Monday, April 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. “Segment 2 from there to Strandview Avenue begins this Summer.”
“This is such a complicate construction job. There are actually several projects all going on at once, including stormwater, water lines, sanitary sewer, outfalls, utility relocation and road replacement with sidewalks in an extremely tight right-of-way, to improve safety for all uses including bicycles, pedestrians, and automobiles. Segment 2 will feature 10-foot-wide vehicle lanes, with designated bike lanes on each side of boulevard, 6-foot sidewalks and green space to separate the road and walkways.”
Crews will maintain two-way traffic the vast majority of the time, Kaye explained, “but construction will pass by your house several times, and unfortunately we require the barrier wall, as there can be as much as 12 to 18 inches of deviation from the Bay to the Gulf side of the road, so it is an absolutely necessary safety precaution to install the center storm drain. If you live on Estero Boulevard, you will not always have access to your driveway, so make friends with your neighbors as you will have to park cars at each other’s houses.”
Jim Molnar of T.Y. Lin International Civil Engineers discussed the center lane inverted drainage system. “I began on this project five years ago with no preconceived notion of what the road would be. The 12 to 18-inch difference from Bay to Beach side was really challenging, so we chose the inverted road with center drainage pipe to take advantage of those radically different slopes. It has pavers with quarter-inch gaps for water to percolate through the rocks and into the pipe, exceeding the requirements of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.”
Brett Messner, the project manager from Tetra Tech Engineers, explained the selection of the Segment 2 shared outfalls with Lee County: “Town and county engineers studied the Estero Island basins, and joint meetings determined the sites, with stormwater modeling that dictated the number and spacing, as well as a pipe size that could not exceed 30-inches due to additional monitoring. The Town approved the first four on Eucalyptus Avenue, Jefferson Court, Hercules Drive and Bayview Avenue, with the second four at Bay Road, Bay Mar, Connecticut and Donora scheduled to be roughly two mounts after that. We did not pick the worst-flooding streets like Del Mar because they need their own system and that excludes them for joint outfalls. Most sidestreets will have inlets to allow water that accumulates there to drain into the system, and these will help.”
Mailboxes & Driveways
Kaye answered basic questions: “People ask about their mailboxes and driveways. If the contractor needs to move your mailbox, you will still receive mail and they must replace it exactly when the work is done. Interruptions to your driveway are minimal and hopefully will not be too much trouble. If we disrupt your drive on a sidestreet, we will replace it as is, but on Estero Boulevard, it must be concrete.”
Homeowners will receive a notification of items they must take care of prior to construction. “Irrigation and lighting are our prime issues,” Kaye said, “so please have those lines turned off before we get there, capping them at the right-of-way. If you do not, then if anything does happen to those, it is the responsibility of the property owner. We will do our best to work around landscaping, fencing, and yard art but sometimes it is best to take them down before crews determine that their removal is unavoidable.” Side street work will begin at multiple locations as permits and shovel-ready projects are set, so expect brief delays and some flagging.
“You will be affected by a water shutoff and boil water notice that will likely take three to five days,” Kaye offers, “but we let you know that well ahead of time of any planned shutoff, then alert you again when it is done. If you have any health issues that require public services or special needs or doctors’ appointments, please contact us in advance and we will work with you to help. We provide public outreach, email notifications, put out flyers and door hangers, meet with community groups and attend special events, and send an email update every Friday, as we want you as fully informed as possible.” For ongoing information or to receive email updates, see www.reFRESHFMBeach.com or contact Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc., at 239-337-1071, 877-496-1076, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.