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Summer update: Estero Boulevard project

June 13, 2018
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Season's over, which means the Estero Boulevard project will chug along without too many traffic delays.

However, when season's over, a different season begins: summer rains. Downpours from Tropical Storm Alberto already caused some back log of the construction schedule.

"We're catching up from that and getting back on schedule," said Kaye Molnar, spokeswoman for the ReFresh Estero Boulevard project and president of CellaMolnar & Associates.

Article Photos

Graphic by Jessica Salmond

Here's what to expect over the summer months for the Estero Boulevard project, Waterlines project and side streets stormwater project. Construction schedules are subject to change, and with what's predicted to be an active hurricane season, frequent rains could cause more delays.

Last week, paving began on the northbound lane of Estero Boulevard between Donora Boulevard and Hibiscus Street. This is the permanent pavement, not temporary. Now, construction crews can shift to the center lane, Molnar said.

Unfortunately, that means the barrier wall will return for the summer. Molnar said residents can expect to see the barrier erected before the end of this week as crews prepare to dig into the center of the road, lowering its grade level and beginning to install the center lane storm drain by mid-June.

Once the center lane section is finished, crews will move to the southbound lane and repave. This section is estimated to be finished by late October, Molnar said.

The very beginning of Segment 2, Lovers Lane to Donora Boulevard, was skipped over during the busy season because this area begins the transition from a 50-foot right of way to a 65-foot right of way. The small curve is a tight space, and the goal of the project is to try to keep two lanes of traffic open and minimize flagging. In this area specifically, there isn't room to keep open two lanes, Molnar said, so the section was skipped to wait until summer, when having a flagged traffic area will be less impactful on the island's overall traffic.

Residents can expect to see northbound lane work beginning from Lovers Lane to Donora Boulevard this week. Then, in late August, crews will shift to the center lane in this section, Molnar said.

Bay Road, while technically in Segment 1, will also be wrapping up soon. It hosts an Estero Boulevard outfall, but it couldn't be built until the Lovers Lane, Donora section of the center lane storm drain was closer to construction, Molnar said.

Simultaneously with the Lovers Lane section, the section from Hibiscus Drive to Strandview Avenue will also be getting work done. The northbound lane will be repaved by July and the center lane work will begin in late August.

Molnar said the side streets serving as joint outfalls for the center lane storm drain are almost all finished in Segment 2: Donora, Eucalyptus, Jefferson, Connecticut, and Hercules are finished, and Bay Mar is almost complete. Bayview Lane will be the last to finish up, in July. Those roads will also have to get drainage boxes installed at the "t" where they meet Estero Boulevard.

According to Molnar, the goal for Segment 2 is to be substantially finished by 2019. It might be a lofty goal, one that could be delayed by weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Then, it's on to Segment 3.

Up until now, the Estero Boulevard project and the town's Waterlines project have ran parallel with each other, both starting and ending at about the same places. Now, however, they begin to diverge. The Estero Boulevard project's Segment 2 runs from Lovers Lane to Strandview; the town's Phase 2 is from Lovers Lane to Madera Road.

For the town's Phase 3 waterlines, a contract will be brought to the council for approval at the next June meeting to begin work on installing the new water main on Estero from Madera Road to Lenark.

The Segment 3 joint outfalls are already approved, although the town will have to approve the contractor. Those joint streets are Glenview Manor, Dakota Avenue/Palmetto Street/Easy Street, Lazy Way, Aberdeen Avenue/Lauder Street/Dundee Road and Mound Road. The county also has its own outfalls in Segment 3: Madera, Driftwood, Curlew.

There won't be any neighborhood public meetings until work on the Segment 3 joint outfall roads begin, Molnar said. Residents can expect to start getting meeting noticed this fall, when the project team will hold meetings to talk to residents about what's going on on their streets.



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