Road Fever: Estero Boulevard Construction Update

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The reFRESH Estero Boulevard and Waterlines Improvement Projects continue, with Segment 1 nearing completion, and Segment 2 just underway.

The reFRESH Estero Boulevard Project, a Lee County effort, involves the reconstruction of the six miles of Estero Boulevard from Crescent Street to Big Carlos Pass, consistent with the vision in the Town of Fort Myers Beach Streetscape Master Plan. It is to be complete in approximately one-mile segments, to allow for construction of one segment while finalizing the design and permitting of the next.

The two major goals of the reFRESH Estero Boulevard Project are increased safety for all users such as motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, and improved drainage. Although its primary focus is not to ease seasonal traffic congestion, improvements will help travelers shift to alternative transportation modes like walking, bicycling or the trolley.

The reFRESH Waterlines Improvement Project, a Town of Fort Myers Beach effort, will replace the water mains with a new, more-efficient water main system. Waterlines in several beach neighborhoods have already been replaced and eventually all the waterlines in the town will be replaced. The focus now is on the main line under Estero Blvd. The Waterline Project is being coordinated with the Estero Blvd Project.

Segment 1
Crescent Street to Lovers Lane

Segment 1 is now done between Crescent Street and Avenue C near the Lani Kai Island Resort, including raking, regrading and laying sod behind the sidewalks and regrading driveways to match the new roadway elevation.

Construction excavates the existing roadway base and installs the center lane storm drainage system from Palm Avenue to Chapel Street. Side streets remain open, but a barrier wall separates the northbound and southbound lanes, requiring motorists to execute U-turns to reach some locations. By the end of November, everything should be complete to Chapel Street and Fort Myers Beach residents and visitors will experience for the first time the promised improvements.

Florida Power & Light (FPL) and Comcast are transferring services, to relocate poles to the back of the right-of-way (ROW) to maximize the sidewalk width for pedestrians and bicyclists who choose not to share the road. Once this is over, crews will install the Estero Boulevard center lane drainage system, regrade and rebuild the northbound lanes and sidewalks, construct the southbound sidewalk, and temporarily widen it for upcoming regarding of the southbound shoulder from Chapel Street to Lovers Lane.

Stormwater will drain toward the center lane on the completed boulevard, passing through the pervious brick pavers and into the rock below. Filter fabric keeps sand and debris from contaminating the rock trench that holds stormwater runoff. Water immediately filters into the ground adjacent to the trench, with excess water entering the perforated concrete pipe to travel to one of several back bay outfalls. The new system is a positive step toward improving Southwest Florida water quality.

Segment 2
Lovers Lane to Madera Road

In Segment 2, Lee County and the Town of Fort Myers Beach move further south along Estero Boulevard to replace water mains and the sanitary sewer force main between Lovers Lane and Madera Road, near Publix Super Market.

Estero Boulevard has temporary pavement on the beach side beginning near Washington Avenue to widen the roadway to maintain two lanes of traffic and a pedestrian walkway during most construction, meaning that daily flagging won’t be necessary. One-lane flagging, however, is in place from Gulfview Avenue to Madera Road during new beachside water main installation.

At this same time, workers will complete the Estero Boulevard sanitary sewer force main between Lovers Lane and Washington Avenue, and install sanitary sewer force mains on the bay side from Voorhis south to Connecticut Streets, and are clearing the beach side ROW from Connecticut to Hercules Drive.

Nights and Saturdays

“Saturday and nighttime work unfortunately now is necessary,” said project spokesperson Kaye Molnar. “We explained this to business owners, who said to do whatever is necessary as quickly as possible. We will avoid high profile weekends but the rest of the year until the Holidays seems to be wide open.”

For ongoing information on either the Waterline or the Estero Blvd project, or to receive email updates, visit reFRESHFMBeach.com or contact Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc., at 239-337-1071, 877-496-1076 or email at kmolnar@cella.cc.

 

Gary Mooney