Lehigh Acres and North Fort Myers will receive $4.1 million in state grants accepted by the Lee County Board of Commissioners to repair infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Irma.
For residents of Lehigh, this means replacing a pedestrian bridge over the Able Canal.
The Richmond Avenue Pedestrian Bridge over the Able Canal is owned by the Lehigh Acres Municipal Service Improvement District. It is a connector for students walking to Lehigh Elementary School. The county will assume the cost of routine maintenance of the bridge.
“The bridge was badly damaged by the storm and was immediately closed,” said Lee County spokeswoman Betsy Clayton. “The remains of the structure were removed shortly after the storm.”
The project cost of $678,566 includes design and material upgrades to ensure the new structure will meet updated hurricane code requirements.
“The current schedule, which does not yet have Florida DOE approval, calls for the design phase to begin in October 2022. Construction is expected to begin in late 2022 or early 2023 and will take approximately one year,” says Clayton.
The Lee County Department of Transportation will also use the sidewalk funds.
Seven neighborhoods – Palmona Park, Suncoast Estates, Beacon Manor, Charleston Park, Page Park, Pine Manor and Russel Park – will receive sidewalk repairs.
“The sidewalks were cracked by flooding and the weight of heavy equipment as it moved through the neighborhood to restore power and utilities and collect debris,” says Clayton.
A total of 566 square meters will be repaired for Palmona Park, costing $103,000, and 602 square meters for Suncoast Estates, which will cost $109,000.
“The current schedule, which does not yet have Florida DOE approval, estimates construction to begin in July 2022 and end in July 2023,” says Clayton.
The grant will also be used to clear plant debris and sediment from five canals, Baker, North, Baker South, Walmart, Cartagena and Bonita Beach, all located in unincorporated Lee County.
Lee County was designated as “The most affected and the most afflicted” Community by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure county priority in receiving disaster response, as well as funding for mitigation following the September 2017 storm, Hurricane Irma.