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Estero Boulevard segment 2 moves to “plan b”

January 10, 2018
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The stretch of Estero Boulevard between Lovers Lane and Voorhis Street will get a respite from construction.

This area - and Donora Boulevard - will be skipped for now from getting stormwater or new waterlines installed as part of the on-going boulevard construction.

Kaye Molnar, President and spokeswoman for CellaMolnar and the ReFresh Estero Boulevard project, said several factors lead to this schedule change.

Donora Boulevard is slated as one of Segment 2's eight outfalls, which will drain stormwater from Estero Boulevard's center lane storm drain to the bay.

But there are so many other utility conflicts on Donora - the longest of the first four outfalls - that town waterlines contractor Mitchell and Stark and county boulevard contractor Chris-Tel Construction came to a conclusion together.

"They determined the quickest thing will be to focus on (the rest of) the area," Molnar said.

The new waterlines are supposed to go on the south side of Donora, while the outfall pipe is supposed to go on the north side. But currently, the old water main is in the way also sanitary sewer force mains blocking up the north side, Molnar said.

The center lane storm drain can't be built until there are outfalls to service it, should it rain. The section between Lovers Lane and Voorhis needs to have both Bay Avenue* and Donora Boulevard's outfalls built before it can get the center lane drane, Molnar said.

But that means they're able to skip this section, and continue with construction in the rest of Segment 2.

The next two outfalls, Eucalyptus Court and Jefferson Avenue, are nearing completion, and Connecticut Avenue's outfall should begin soon.

The decision also comes for public safety reasons. Molnar said the Fort Myers Beach Fire District needs to be able to get out of the station on either Voorhis or Donora.

The schedule change hasn't caused any delays in Segment 2, Molnar said. She's not sure when crews will return to finish the spot between Lovers Lane and the fire station and build Donora's outfall.

The schedule switch will benefit more than just the fire department - Gulf View Shops, the Red Coconut RV Park, Junkanoo's and Fresh Catch Bistro will also get a reprieve. Without the concrete barrier blocking off Estero Boulevard in front of these businesses, it will be simpler for customers to get to and from the establishments.

For Fran Myers at the Red Coconut, it's a relief to know the 800-some people who stay at the RV park during season won't have to maneuver around a concrete barrier when they arrive or depart the park with their "big rigs."

"If they don't block the park in February or March, it will be good news," Myers said.

As Segment 2 moves into the center lane storm drainage install past Voorhis, Molnar said this go round should be easier than it was in Segment 1. This time, the plan is to start with the northbound sidewalk and lane and then move to the southbound lane and sidewalk.

"We'll build from north to south, sidewalk to sidewalk, no back and forth," she said.

The center lane storm drain installation means the concrete barrier wall will be going up again, but it could be until February or later until it's installed. Molnar said there is still work to be done before the road gets pulled up and regraded.



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