There are no street lights on Estero Parkway, the road of the same name in the village of Estero.
The lack of lighting is a safety concern at night, according to residents of communities on the road.
“You run into a black hole,” said Bob Grady, a resident of Belle Lago, a community on Estero Parkway. “It is absolutely unbelievable. It’s waiting for an accident.”
During public meetings over the past two months, residents have raised the need for a brighter Estero Parkway.
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At a public meeting Wednesday, the Estero Board approved adding street lighting to the final engineering plans for the nearly $10 million Estero Parkway project.
According to the project’s bidding documents, a total of 106 light poles will be installed along Estero Parkway when construction is complete.
The total cost of the Estero Parkway project is $8.9 million, with approximately $794,000 set aside for contingency construction costs, the village said. The total cost of including street lighting in the project is nearly $1 million, bidding documents show.
The village plans to rebuild the stretch of road between US 41 and Three Oaks Parkway. The road includes extensive landscaping, 7-foot bike lanes, and 6-foot sidewalks on both sides of the road.
After Wednesday’s meeting, Estero is expected to finalize a contract with Fort Myers-based Cougar Contracting LLC, said David Willems, Estero’s Public Works Director.
This brings Estero one step closer to construction. The village does not know when construction is expected to begin, Willems said.
Residents of Estero Parkway and other parts of the village urged the village council to include street lighting in the project.
“Street lighting simply does not benefit people living in the communities on those streets. They benefit everyone who drives those streets,” said Ed Mehmel, a resident of Rookery Pointe, another community on Estero Parkway.
Councilors agreed on Wednesday that Estero Parkway is a safety concern without lights.
“Today we’re here to talk about trying to make Estero Parkway a great street, a safe street,” said Councilor Jon McLain, who lives on Estero Parkway. “Lights are an important part of that.”
Councilor Katy Errington said one of her concerns is Florida Gulf Coast University students, who might be walking along Estero Parkway at night after dark.
“If we’re getting anywhere with this, we want it to be safety,” Errington said.