Ongoing construction on Fort Myers beach remains the biggest concern for residents and business owners. Not only is this tacking on commute time but merchants say people want to avoid the area and it’s taking away from business.
Allen Gillard, Owner of A and S Plumbing says he’s frustrated, “Now this mess they got here over at the Red Coconut is just a total disaster down here.”
Even daily tasks are taking a long time, “I just got back from getting a haircut. Round trip from Donora (Boulevard) to the (Beach) Barber Shop and coming back, I’ve been gone hour and a half,” said Chris Lanzon, Fort Myers Beach, “Good clock, 15 to 20 minutes which is crazy.”
As traffic grows so do construction concerns.
“We got a reputation of bad traffic so they don’t even come down to the beach anymore,” said Raymond Carrasco, owner Ray’s Pizza.
It’s particularly bad near the Red Coconut RV Park. That’s because the Estero Boulevard project is installing storm drain pipes, requiring one-way alternating traffic.
After many complaints, town council requested the roadwork be done at night. Project leaders though say it would be too costly and too dangerous. Instead, they agreed to move forward with construction into this weekend to get the work done faster.
“They got both sides of the road tore up. they got it down to one lane and it takes an hour to get through and I got trucks down here working so its adds up,” said Gillard “It’s costing us a fortune.”
Now business owners are afraid it’ll cause roadblocks in business, during their busiest days.
“The weekends, especially Saturday, whole beach is packed and I don’t know what’s gonna happen when they do the one lane. I probably won’t be able to deliver, which is like 90 percent of my business,” said Carrasco of Ray’s Pizza.
Crews on Fort Myers Beach are flagging traffic around the holes they dig for storm drains and they fill them before the day ends. Around 5 p.m. it’s back to the normal two lanes.
You can expect one lane traffic until December 18th.
For more information on project scheduling, visit the municipality’s website.