While the first phase of the project to install a new waterline infrastructure is set to wrap up at the beginning of December, another road project is right around the corner. In September, the County will begin the Estero Boulevard Improvements project, which will bring several changes to the main thoroughfare of the Town.
Many representatives from the Town’s and County government, as well as companies working on the project, were present at Chapel by the Sea on Fort Myers Beach this past Tuesday, August 25th, in order to inform the public of this upcoming phase of construction, and the changes it could bring both in the long-term and the short-term.
The goal of several of these changes is to increase safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
To this end, the project includes continuous sidewalks to be built on both sides of the Boulevard for the entire beach, as well as more and better-lit crosswalks. The new construction of the Boulevard will also provide better drainage.
One advantage that the Improvements project may have over the waterline project is the possibility that two lanes of traffic will be kept open throughout most of it. Much of the congestion from the current construction stems from points in the road that get pinched off into one lane that alternates between which direction the traffic goes.
“What you’ll see is a little better traffic flow,” Randy Cerchie, Acting Transportation Director for Lee County Department of Transportation, said. “The Town had to dig deeper to get to their waterlines, which restricted them from keeping two lanes open.”
That doesn’t mean there won’t be some inconveniences, though. The lanes that are blocked will require people to sometimes U-turn and double back to reach their desired side street, parking lot, or other destination.
“It’s all going to be about getting into a rhythm,” Scott Baker, the Public Works Director of Fort Myers Beach, said in regards to everyone adapting to this upcoming phase of construction. “It’s going to take patience to get there.”
Fort Myers Beach Mayor Anita Cereceda was enthusiastic about both the progress of the waterlines and the upcoming phase of the Boulevard project. “It took a longtime to see this happen, and now it is. Hallelujah is the word for it.”