Two Lanes to Be Open for Thanksgiving Week

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Our readers may have noticed workers installing pipe on the right side of Estero Boulevard between Red Coconut and Lovers Lane. That is the very beginning of the County’s road replacement project, which also includes the replacement of sanitary sewer lines. Those sewer lines are located on the bay side of the road – opposite from where the Town is replacing waterlines on the Gulf side of the road. The good news is that the County’s project – which will see two lanes of traffic flowing most of the time – is starting because the Town is nearly finished with the first segment of the waterline replacement project. They are so close to being done that they have announced that two lanes will be open during the entire week of the Thanksgiving holiday, bringing welcome relief to families celebrating turkey day and to those attending the Sand Sculpting Championships.

On Thursday morning, we met with Kaye Molnar of Cella Molnar & Associates – the public relations firm hired by both the Town and the County to answer questions regarding the Town’s waterline replacement project and the installation of a natural gas line (ongoing now) and the County’s reconstruction of Estero Boulevard (which began Monday).

“The Town’s crews have now installed 5,080 feet out of 6,353 feet of total pipe, so we are closing in on being done,” Kaye told us. “We have two crews that are working towards each other – one from Alva (near Carolina) to Pearl Street and the other from Tropical Shores Way to Pearl. That’s all we have left to do with the waterline project.”

Kaye told us that the County will be in the area between Red Coconut and Lovers Lane for ‘about three weeks’ and will then move further north along Estero as the Town finishes flushing the new water pipes, making sure they’re safe and putting them into operation.

“The Mayor has asked us to keep two lanes open during Thanksgiving week (November 23rd-27th), so we will do that,” she said. “There will still be workers, but no lane closures.”

For our returning seasonal residents and visitors who are confused about the detours around Time Square, the pattern is this: flaggers are directing motorists heading off the island down Crescent Street to Fifth, where they can get on the bridge via Fifth. Those coming from north of Time Square south are being directed down Old San Carlos and under the bridge to Crescent, and those coming onto the island need simply veer left (south) or right (north) depending on what direction they are headed.

Remember – a little bit of patience goes a long way, and when this is all over we’re going to have a beautiful new road with working waterlines. For a sneak peek of what it will look like, take a trip to the northern section of Estero Boulevard on the other side of Time Square – the Town finished that project in 2010 and something similar is planned for the rest of the island.

“Please be courteous to drivers making left-hand turns by leaving space for them to turn into driveways and side streets,” Kaye said. “If these drivers cannot make a left-hand turn because there is no space to cross the opposing travel lane, traffic in both directions stops causing further travel delays.”

Visit the website at www.reFRESHFMBeach.com for project information. You may sign up on the website to receive emails about the project. If you have questions or concerns during construction, please contact Kaye at 239-337-1071, (toll-free) 877-496-1076 or via e-mail to kmolnar@cella.cc.

Keri Hendry Weeg