Work to Begin After Labor Day
On Wednesday afternoon, the Town of Fort Myers Beach and those involved with the reconstruction of the Town’s waterlines held a meeting at Bay Oaks’ gymnasium to discuss the second phase of that project – from Red Coconut RV Park to Madera Road – which is scheduled to begin shortly after Labor Day.
Kaye Molnar of Cella Molnar & Associates – the media relations firm hired to represent both the Town’s waterline replacement project and the County’s Estero Boulevard reconstruction project – began by explaining that this segment will go a little bit differently than the first.
“The Town is working with the county to start this phase concurrently – meaning we will begin replacing the old water main in the area near Red Coconut RV Park at the same time as the County begins installing a new sanitary sewer line near Washington Street,” she said. “This will allow the county to put temporary pavement down so we can maintain two-way traffic throughout the project.”
Engineer Brett Messner gave a brief timeline on the waterline project, explaining how islanders overwhelmingly passed a referendum approving the project in 2007, then in 2008 the Town completed a water rate utility study and identified areas with the greatest needs, which resulted in the completion of the North Estero project in 2011, followed by the ‘basin-based’ neighborhood -Tropical Shores Way to Carolina Avenue – and Laguna Shores, both of which were completed in 2015.
“Earlier this year – 2016 – we completed the first segment of Estero Boulevard waterline, which included a new natural gas line,” he said. “Now we are about ready to start the second segment of Estero – which will be from Red Coconut down to Madera Road.”
Kaye said that the first thing islanders will see is the staking of the Right of Way (ROW) for that section.
“This week, letters are going out to property owners on or adjacent to that section of Estero Boulevard to alert them in case they have landscaping or other items encroaching on the ROW,” she said. “Those things will have to be removed. If there are large encroachments, we will work with the property owners to figure out how to move them.”
After that, Kaye explained, the first thing islanders will see is the demolition of the Gulf-side lane followed by the installation of the new water main, then testing of the new pipe, connection with each side street and the restoration of Estero.
“Any ‘boil water’ notices will be sent out ahead of time, and anyone who has someone in their house with handicap issues or who gets picked up regularly by a bus – please call us so we can maintain that schedule,” she said.
“TECO will also be installing their natural gas line, but this time they will be working with the county instead of sharing our trench,” Kaye continued. “To my knowledge, they will only be going as far as Publix.” She referred any additional questions regarding the gas line to TECO.
For Lee County’s road reconstruction project, Kaye told us that ‘the Town and the county are still working together’.
“They will start at Washington and work south – with the two crews working together – then they will come back and do the area between Red Coconut and Washington,” she said. “The reason for that is so they can install temporary pavement to keep the road smoother. Keep in mind that the County’s new sanitary sewer line will be on the bay side of Estero, while the new water main will be on the Gulf side. They (county) will also be putting in new 8 -9 foot sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides of the road.”
Messner said that the only place where flagging might occur will be on the small section in front of Red Coconut.
“The ROW there is only 50 feet, after that it opens up to 65 feet, which gives us a lot more room to work with,” he said.
After the meeting, Fire Commissioner Bob Raymond asked about emergency vehicles coming out of Fire Station 31 on Donora.
“There will always be access for ambulances and fire trucks, both north and southbound,” Molnar said.
Another question concerned the left-turn lane in front of Publix.
“We’re not sure yet what’s going to happen with that,” said Lee County Department of Transportation Director Rob Phelan. “That is at the end of the 65’ segment, where the ROW reduces to 50 feet again.”
What Molnar most wanted residents to understand is that this segment will be easier than the first.
“We learned a lot about what to deal with, plus – since we’re away from the downtown area – there will be less things to deal with once we dig up the road,” she said. “Anyone who has any questions can call me at 239-337-1071. Please sign up for our updates that we send on Fridays at www.refreshFMB.com.”
Keri Hendry Weeg