Q: Now that Oil Well Road is complete between Immokalee Road and Everglades Boulevard, when is DOT going to raise the speed limit back to 45 mph?
— Jeffrey Hoffman, Naples
A: That section of Oil Well Road reopened earlier this month and is now 45 mph, and the four-lane, four-mile segment of Oil Well Road from Oil Well Grade Road to Ave Maria Boulevard opened to traffic last week.
Even so, work on the integral east-west route in northern Golden Gate Estates still has weeks left to finish, and weeks before other speed limits will change along the road, according to the Collier County Growth Management Division.
"We expect final completion to occur in the next four to six weeks after all punch-list items are done and the county has accepted the roadway as completed per the contract with the contractor," said Connie Deane, a spokeswoman for Growth Management.
New speed limits will be posted when work is done on the county road.
"At that point, the speed limits will be 45 mph in the section from Immokalee Road to Everglades Boulevard, where three schools and a few subdivisions are located; 55 mph in the middle segment, which is mainly agricultural area; and 50 mph in the segment from Oil Well Grade Road to Ave Maria Boulevard," Deane said.
The project to widen from two to four lanes the three-mile segment of Oil Well Road between Immokalee Road and Everglades Boulevard is only the first phase of road work that began in February 2010 to address traffic demand from significant growth in that area. Oil Well Road also was expanded from two lanes to six between Oil Well Grade Road to just east of Ave Maria Boulevard.
The current safety improvement project, which began last December, is tackling the three-mile stretch that connects the two Oil Well Road sections detailed above. Work is under way to widen the two travel lanes from Everglades Boulevard to Oil Well Grade Road by 2 feet and add 3-foot paved shoulders on the north side and 5-foot paved shoulders on the south side of the road. This segment will get a final layer of asphalt in the next two weeks.
Additional improvements besides the roadwork include sidewalks, streetlights and new traffic signals. In the western portion from Immokalee Road to Everglades Boulevard, sidewalks were constructed on both sides of the roadway and in the segment from Oil Well Road to Ave Maria Boulevard, while a 12-foot multi-use pathway was constructed on the north side of the roadway. In addition, streetlights were added for two miles from Immokalee Road to the Golden Gate main canal, the county reports.
Crews also have installed a new water main and a new force main sewer extending along 1.5 miles of Oil Well Road from Immokalee Road. A new traffic signal was added on Immokalee Road at Orange Tree Boulevard and the traffic signals on Oil Well Road at Everglades Boulevard as well as the signals at Corkscrew Elementary and Middle schools and at Palmetto Ridge High School were upgraded. Other improvements included the replacement of existing bridge structures, intersection and access management upgrades, and drainage and stormwater management facility improvements.
The about $39 million county project that included the segments from Immokalee Road to just east of Everglades Boulevard and the segment from Oil Well Grade Road to Ave Maria Boulevard was awarded to Mitchell & Stark Construction Co. Inc. It is scheduled to be completed on time and within budget. A $6 million Transportation Regional Incentive Program grant from the state, helped to fund the project, the county reports.
The road safety improvement project from Everglades Boulevard to Oil Well Grade Road was awarded to APAC for $1.7 million.
"Further construction work to add additional travel lanes to the middle segment from Everglades Boulevard to Oil Well Grade Road and the remainder of the western section from east of Ave Maria Boulevard to east of Camp Keais Road will be placed in the construction work program as funding availability permits," according to a news release Friday from the Growth Management Division.
School supplies donations
Q: I am a grandmother whose grandchildren are grown. I have a shopping bag of slightly used treasures – crayons, colored pencils, good quality coloring books (one of famous art works), stencils, playing cards, blank paper, etc. I could drop this off at one of the large charities, but there must be a low-budget, no-budget small group whose children could use these things.
— J.M., North Naples
A: Many families with school-age children are struggling to make ends meet and would appreciate your donation. Because school is starting again soon, your gift of paper, pencils and other supplies would be timely and welcomed by parents who are expected to send their kids to school with these learning tools. In fact, crayons are on the local wish list.
The Collier County Library's annual drive for school supplies ends this week, so drop off your items in the receptacles provided at any local library branch today or Tuesday.
This is the third year the libraries have sought donations to benefit children attending Collier County schools. The library staff collects the supplies and delivers them to the school system for distribution to children in the community.
This year, 1-inch three-ring binders, pocket folders, and loose-leaf lined and holed paper are most needed, the public library system reports. Other items needed include eight-count boxes of crayons, No. 2 pencils, glue sticks and large pink erasers. The library website, www.colliergov.net/library, has a link named "School Supply Drive" with a complete list of needed items.
Also, Fifth Third Bank has partnered with The Education Foundation of Collier County to collect school supplies for the bank's fourth annual "Back to School" supply drive. Donations will be accepted at all Fifth Third financial centers in Collier County today through Wednesday. The bank will provide backpacks to donate with the supplies. To find the nearest Fifth Third Bank branch, go to www.53.com.
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"In the Know" is published Mondays and Wednesdays in the Naples Daily News. Find a complete archive of "In the Know" columns at naplesnews.com/intheknow.