UPDATED: Fort Myers Beach boulevard waterlines project delayed by rain
Waterline construction on Estero Boulevard has been delayed due to weather.
Construction activities scheduled to begin Monday on Estero Boulevard have been cancelled due to inclement weather. All activities will occur one day later than originally scheduled.
Work will be officially underway for a long-term project on the main road of Fort Myers Beach come next week.
Beginning Monday evening, motorists can expect some delays and new traffic patterns as crews are set to remove and temporarily re-stripe Estero Boulevard. The action, which will be done both Monday and Tuesday nights (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.), is a preparation for waterline construction where waterlines will be replaced on the boulevard from Times Square to Red Coconut RV Park as part of the Fort Myers Beach Waterline Replacement Program. This project is being done in coordination with Lee County’s Estero Boulevard Improvements Project expected to begin this fall 2015.
On Wednesday morning, construction crews will begin to mill asphalt and install temporary construction drainage on the boulevard. The process will go all week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Most of the waterline construction will be on the beach side of the boulevard and will require connections to existing waterlines on both the bay and beach sides.
According to officials, the preliminary work will not be as impactful as the full road construction later this year. Much of the work will be done in right-of-ways and should not affect lane closures. Southbound traffic may be shifted to the middle lane.
“There will not be very much if any impact on Estero Boulevard during this initial water project,” said FMB Town Manager Don Stilwell. “This work will be off the boulevard. When the County starts their actual project, then the boulevard will be more impacted.”
Actual installation of new water mains begins next Monday, Aug. 3. Two work zones featuring two separate crews will be set up on the boulevard from Crescent Street to Gulf Beach Road to install the mains. Crew 1 will start at Crescent Street and move toward Carolina Avenue. Crew 2 will start at Pearl Street and move toward Gulf Beach Road. The southbound lane and the center turn lane to install water and TECO gas lines will be closed between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Lane closures will be limited to the area as the contractors will be actively working on that day. Traffic will be maintained in both directions in the northbound lane. Flaggers will alternate traffic directions frequently, but motorists can expect some delays depending on traffic volume.
“The work will be done on the beach side of Estero Boulevard,” said reFRESH Waterlines spokesperson Kaye Molnar of Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc. “The work portion will be about 400 feet and, in that construction zone area, we will be flagging traffic. There will be two traffic directions, but one lane. It will be a lot like what they are doing with the FPL project further south on the Beach.”
Waterline construction from Times Square to Crescent Street is expected to begin in September. Once the new waterline is installed, tested and approved, individual services will be connected.
The same time schedule applies to this work. Some night and weekend work may be necessary.
While work is taking place, businesses and residents along Estero Boulevard in the work zone should be prepared for water shut-offs. Every effort will be made to minimize the shut-offs; however, it is likely that property owners will experience planned and possible emergency water shut-offs.
Affected parties will be notified via flyers prior to planned water shut-offs. Officials recommend keeping bottled water on hand for emergency shut-offs. A precautionary boil water period of approximately three days typically follows a shut-off.
“With any water shut-off, we will try to give 48 hours notice,” said Molnar.
The Fort Myers Beach Chamber has offered to provide assistance to Beach restaurants and bars in the form of ice and water during the boil water period. One can contact the Chamber directly at 454-7500 to find out more information about this program.
Molnar stated she expects the County Estero Boulevard Improvements Project to roll right after this portion of work.
“From this point on, it will look like construction,” she said.
Molnar said anyone seeking more information can visit the website at www.reFRESHFMBeach.com and click on “reFRESH Waterlines.” Construction information will be updated as it becomes available. You can also sign up on the website to receive emails about the project.
If you have questions or concerns during construction, contact Molnar via e-mail at email@example.com or by calling 337-1071.