Collier County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved spending $39 million for the first phase of the project to widen Oil Well Rd. between Immokalee Rd. and Camp Keais Rd.
The board approved awardiing the contract to Mitchell & Stark Construction Co., which was the low bidder for the project at $34,977,999.18. The project was budgeted at $40 million and the county manager is recommending that the commissioners approve a reserve of $4,207,000 for "funding allowances." Residents of the Waterways development at Immokalee Rd. and Oil Well Rd. raised objections to the widening, but commissioners decided that it was too late to change course.
Barron Collier Cos. Vice President Tom Sansbury said in an interview that crews could be starting work in February. Some independent work has already begun to prepare the area from which fill will be dug. That work will eventually result in the creation of a recreational lake.
The first phase of the project is expected to take about 18 months and will complete widening of two parts of Oil Well Rd. -- from two lanes to four lanes from Immokalee Rd. to Everglades Blvd. and from two lanes to six lanes from Oil Well Grade Rd. to just east of Ave Maria Blvd.
Collier County Commissioner Jim Coletta would like to see the middle piece done as quickly as possible, as well as a widening of Camp Keais Rd.
"It's my dream that in the next two or three years people will be able to drive from Naples to Immokalee on four or six-lane roads all the way."
That could be achieved, he said, if a settlement is reached between the state of Florida and Indian tribes that will determine a contribution to local governments from casino revenues. Mr. Coletta said that such a settlement would enable completion of a number of public works projects in Eastern Collier County without any increase in taxes.