According to FPL Southwest Florida Area Manager Charlotte Miller, the installation of 131 turtle-friendly amber lights on Estero Boulevard began Wednesday and should be completed by the end of next week.
Estero Boulevard will be much darker than it was before because of the amount of light the amber lights put out, compared to the white lights that were on the Boulevard. However, being that it’s now turtle season, as in past years, those brighter lights needed to be turned off altogether to protect the turtles.
There are 131 light poles on Estero Boulevard. All of them suffered damage during Hurricane Ian. In the aftermath of the storm, FP&L repaired 88 of the 131 lights. White lights, which are not turtle compliant, were installed on those 88 poles. FP&L is now changing all of those white lights with 3,300 lumen amber lights.
The amber lights put out 75% less light than the white lights, according to Mayor Dan Allers. Also, there are not enough poles on Estero Boulevard which means there will be dark spots between lights in certain areas. The new amber lights FP&L is installing are also fully shielded.
The town has been struggling for years to find a solution to what is an extremely dark (Lee County owned) road at night, especially during turtle season, and provide an FWC compliant solution to protect the turtles from disorientation.
FP&L will cover the entire cost of changing out the lights to amber. This is a temporary solution to the Estero Boulevard lighting problem. The town wants to eventually install different amber lights that put out 12,000 lumens, compared to the 3,300 lumens from the amber lights FP&L will now be installing. However, the town doesn’t have the money to make that happen. A request for just under $8 million has been made to the Florida State Legislature for the funds to pay for the lights and the town is waiting to see where that goes.
If the money is approved, additional light poles will be installed on Estero Boulevard so that there are no dark spots between the lights. It would be a town owned system that FP&L installs completely independent of any FPL poles now on the Boulevard. And the system would be underground so it is more resilient to future hurricanes.
The town would still buy the power from FP&L and there would be a 10-year maintenance agreement with FP&L. If the town receives the funding from the state FP&L says the new higher output amber fixtures could be installed before the 2024 turtle season.
I am sooo for Turtle Season … those little guys need our help to do their thing.
However, have we thought about pedestrian and traffic safety ?
Cars go 50 – 60 mph maybe more ….
“60 mph” — on Estero Blvd?? LOL
That’s an enforcement problem, not a lighting problem.
Hundreds of thousand of dollars in stupid studies and we have yellow lights. Yippee!!! Money well spent
TLM = Turtle Live Matter 🐢