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Cape looks at splitting next UEP phase due to construction delays with North 2

By Staff | Jan 14, 2020

According to critics, the North 2 Utilities Expansion Project phase has been a bit shaky at times, and a complete disaster at others.

On Monday, during the Cape Coral City Council’s regular meeting, there was discussion on making sure that when North 1 gets under way later this year, it goes much smoother, perhaps as two smaller and so more manageable phases.

The good news is that North 2, which is currently being completed, is under budget, meaning residents there can anticipate a refund like those in the Southwest 6&7 phase received.

However, material and labor shortages resulted in deadline extensions, as well as dusty and muddy roads and numerous traffic detours long after such things were expected.

Some roads went months without being repaved with some still not.

Of the 98 miles of roads in North 2, 95 percent of them have had their first load of pavement placed. Those roads left should be completed in the next two months, officials said.

“Notices of Availability” pertaining to utility services are expected to be sent out throughout the winter. Property owners then will have 180 days to connect to the system before the second lift of pavement is added to complete the project

Paul Klinghan, public works director, said they are considering breaking North 1, which will comprise of about 7,400 parcels and 78 miles of roadway, into two parts.

The design phase will be brought to Council in March for approval. However, Council may have an option to divide the North 1 expansion into two phases with its approval. The drawback cited is that the construction time and cost could increase.

The city will meet with the Northwest Neighborhood Association during the design phase to discuss and issues the organization might have.

Permitting, design and bidding are proposed to start in April. Assessments — costs to be borne by property owners — should be ready for Council review in summer 2021, with construction going from then until summer 2023 depending on the phasing.

Mayor Joe Coviello said he wanted to avoid these issues in the future.

North 2 had 13 contractors, with up to 10 contracts this time around, which could be cut to five if done in two phases, Klinghan said.

The average cost of the North 2 assessment was $12,632 for all three utilities — potable water, irrigation water and sewer — for those who own 10,000 square feet of land, a typical Cape residential building lot.

Council members aired their grievances to Public Works, saying residents have complained about the tore up roads and all the digging without the roads being fixed in a timely manner.

In other business:

n City Council voted unanimously to lower the speed limit on Southeast 47th Terrace from 30 to 25 mph between Coronado Parkway and Del Prado Boulevard.

Traffic engineer William Corbett told the council that as the road has been reworked to make the road more pedestrian friendly, a lower speed limit on one of the city’s busiest streets was warranted.

Councilmember Rick Williams had questions whether lowering the speed limit would actually make the road more dangerous and whether more stop signs would be a better answer.

Councilmember John Carioscia asked if a flasher could be installed, letting drivers know that pedestrians are crossing. In the end, both endorsed the speed reduction.

n There was also discussion on moving up the construction of Fire Stations 12 and 13 by a year.

Cape Coral Fire Chief Ryan Lamb said there is a need to improve average response time, which is currently 11.7 minutes for all services 90 percent of the time. The goal is no more than 10 minutes.

The optimal response time is 4 minutes, Lamb said, which would require 63 stations in the city, which is not achievable.

The accreditation standard is 6 minutes 90 percent of the time, which would involve 16 stations.

Station 12 would be located near the Cape Coral Sports Complex and Sandoval, near the corner of Chiquita and Veterans boulevards, where response times are very high. Station 13 would be at Northeast 6th Street.