Estero Village Council unanimously ranked Johnson Engineering as the top firm Wednesday to provide professional consulting services for a village-wide traffic study.
Updating the village’s traffic study will document how traffic has changed over the last six years and identify new areas that need to be improved.
In recent years, development has boomed in Estero with some residents opposing new developments in the name of traffic congestion and community safety. Incorporated in 2014, Estero’s first village-wide traffic study was completed in 2017.
“A lot of the improvements that were noted in that report have already been done,” Public Works Director David Willems said.
A few projects in the initial report include adding turn lanes onto Interstate 75 and extending/adding a Ben Hill Griffin southbound left turn lane at Corkscrew Road.
“In that original report, we only looked at a few intersections. This one’s going to propose to do more of the intersections and then also update to account for the additional traffic, especially out east on Corkscrew Road,” Willems said. “A lot of that has already been studied by the county, but this would be a study that is done by the village.”
Council member Jim Ward said the most important thing to come out of the study will be helping the village understand how future developments could impact traffic flow and safety.
The traffic study will work off information already obtained by the village and be based on Estero’s comprehensive plan and current zoning. “We can only go with what we know now,” Willems said. “If somebody were to come in and rezone a project and the intensity changed, then the report wouldn’t take that into account.”
A problem area for Estero is Corkscrew Road, which has had a slew of development. Since it’s a county road, Willems said a big part of the report will be coordination with other municipalities.
“We’re not looking to do this in a vacuum,” he said. “That road is a county road, so anything we do we need to make sure we’re using the same information and that we’re on the same page before we start recommending something that’s totally different than the county.”
The village also plans to work with the city of Bonita Springs on the southern part of the study.
After first advertising a request for qualifications Aug. 10 and re-advertising on Sept. 6, the village received responses from three qualified firms, including Johnson Engineering, Cape Coral-based Pennoni and Naples-based Trebilcock Consulting Solutions. Village staff then met on Sept. 28 to rank the firms, with Trebilcock ranking second and Pennoni third.
Approval authorizes staff to begin negotiations with Johnson Engineering on a contract to be returned to Council for approval.
Willems anticipates the contract to be signed in November, but the entire process may take more than a year. “Realistically, they can’t start the traffic data part of it until February or March, because that’s when we always get our peak season data,” he said.
While the report is focused more on traffic, a piece of the report also will be geared toward safety and pedestrians. The financial impact will be determined by the contract negotiations, with there being $250,000 budgeted for the study in fiscal year 2023-24.