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Hundreds of new streetlights are coming to Fort Myers Beach

Dark nights after Hurricane Ian underscore the need to light up the sidewalks
Posted at 10:11 PM, Feb 20, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-20 22:11:54-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Fort Myers Beach is set to brighten up with a nearly $8 million project to improve the lighting along Estero Blvd. The project was approved by the town council on Tuesday. It aims to address the darkness that has covered the area since Hurricane Ian, making navigation and safety a concern for residents and visitors alike.

Kailey Stamand, a visitor to Times Square, expressed her difficulties in navigating the area.

"It's been dark here for quite a bit of time. I came down here a few months ago, and it's always been really hard to drive around, and I haven't been down here since because of it," she stated.

"If I wasn't from around here, it would probably be a little sketchy," said another visitor, Carson Wallace.

The need for improved lighting is not just about convenience but also safety, as mentioned by another visitor, Jack Elias

"Especially with people drinking, you know, I feel like it would be better to make sure you can see everybody on the road," he said.

The lighting project plans to install up to 442 new light fixtures on Estero Blvd and an additional 258 lights on the side streets. Mayor Dan Allers shared their approach to the project.

"They're going to be a little different, they're a little bit more decorative than the big straight-up concrete poles that you see. We're certainly looking forward to it. When we did the tests in the middle of the night on North Estero Blvd with the light, it really did exactly what it was supposed to do. It provided a lot of illumination, it provided the shielding that we needed."

The new lighting is designed to be bright enough for safe walking and biking at night while also being mindful of the nesting sea turtles, making sure that the light does not disorient them.

To comply with Florida Department of Transportation (F-DOT) requirements, the streets will be illuminated from sidewalk to sidewalk. Additionally, the wiring for the new light poles will be placed underground, adding a layer of resilience to the infrastructure.

The project is expected to begin in April, as the town awaits the delivery of the light poles. City leaders anticipate that the installation will be completed within a year, promising a brighter and safer environment for both locals and visitors to Fort Myers Beach.