Naples beach outfall removal project takes step forward after city council actions

Brittany Carloni Naples Daily NewsPublished 8:00 AM EDT Sep 19, 2020The Naples project that would remove outfa

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The Naples project that would remove outfalls from city beaches took a step forward in the planning process in the past week. 

The Naples City Council took a number of steps to improve the water quality of stormwater discharges into the Gulf of Mexico and to improve traffic safety along part of Gulf Shore Boulevard impacted by the water quality project. 

“What we’ve got before us and what we’ve looked at is phenomenal,” said Councilman Mike McCabe. “This has come a very long way.

"This project as it’s evolved and as it will come to fruition will be something not only that Naples will be proud of but will actually improve our water quality, our waterways, our Gulf to another level that I personally will be proud of.” 

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The city’s outfall removal project is expected to eliminate nine stormwater pipes lining Naples beaches from the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club to near Second Avenue South.

A stormwater management system would discharge treated water via underground pipes offshore into the Gulf of Mexico, according to the city. 

City council this week, among many items, directed city staff to pursue the design and permitting of two stormwater pump stations for the project at a total estimated cost of $24 million, according to a city memo. 

Naples staff will return to the city council at a later date with scope, schedule and fees for consultant Erickson Consulting Engineers, according to the city. 

A north pump station, which could take more water flow, would be located on a drainage easement for the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club and possibly some right-of-way on Oleander Drive, according to the city. The southern pump station would be located near the Third Avenue North right-of-way, according to a city memo on the project.

The two pump stations would lessen some of the construction impacts on Gulf Shore Boulevard from Second Avenue South to Third Avenue North, according to a city memo. 

In addition, the council this week voted on water quality goals for the project, which include reducing total bacteria, nitrogen and phosphorous levels taken at an offshore monitoring station. 

To achieve those goals, the city voted to direct staff to proceed with water quality actions such as increased street sweeping, according to the city.

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Traffic on Gulf Shore Boulevard

The Naples City Council in June directed staff to not pursue bike lanes in the redesign of Gulf Shore Boulevard. 

A portion of the Naples street will have to be torn up as the city installs larger stormwater drainage pipes, a water main and water quality improvements. 

As a result of not including bike lanes in the redesign of the road, the city council asked staff to present options for short-term safety improvements in the area impacted by the outfall project.

Naples resident George Dondanville asked the city council to reconsider adding 4-foot bike lanes on both sides of the street. 

“This would create true safety and comfort for all who were in that part of the completed project area,” he said.

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The council did not take any new action on bike lanes. Instead, council members directed city staff to collect traffic data during peak season to understand whether stop signs may be needed at Central Avenue and South Golf Drive. If no stop signs are called for, the city could install pedestrian warning devices, according to the city states.

In addition, the council directed staff to consider enhancing pedestrian crossings and adding green or white shared lane markings, known as sharrows, along the road, according to the city.

City councilors also called for installing a sign along Gulf Shore Boulevard that indicates bicyclists can use the full travel lane, according to the city. 

City staff was directed to work with the Florida Department of Transportation, Collier County and local transportation organizations on traffic education campaigns. 

Brittany Carloni is the city of Naples reporter at the Naples Daily News. Support her work by subscribing to our local news organization. Find her on Twitter as @CarloniBrittany.
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