Pine Island Road widening will require major water line to be moved
Officials not sure if move will impact rates.
Pine Island and Cape Coral water officials are talking about what to do with a major water line before the state paves it over.
The 1.5-mile line runs along the south side of Pine Island Road from Burnt Store Road to Nott’s Road, also known as Southwest 24th Avenue. Moving it eight feet to the south when the state widens Pine Island Road next year could cost around $950,000, according to William Thacher, general manager of the Greater Pine Island Water Association.
“It’s going to cover up our water line, so we have to move it.” Thacher said. “It certainly would impact us. Whether it would impact rates, I don’t know.”
Fortunately, the association has a short list of capital improvement projects to complete. It could borrow for those projects and the water line and still pay the loan off in about four years, Thacher said. The association also has the money to move the line in its reserves, he said.
The financial impact on the city isn’t clear yet.
“We only recently met with GPIWA representatives, and we have more questions than answers at this point,” city spokeswoman Connie Barron said in an email response. “We need to evaluate the potential costs associated with the proposal and make sure that the infrastructure would not be a burden or liability to the city.”
The association asked the city in a June 7 letter if it was interested in taking control of the line east of the Sandoval property, but not the portion that passes the site Wal Mart has selected for a Supercenter. Any agreement to cooperate should be approved by the end of next January, before the construction contract is let in March, the letter said.
“That was an inquiry to say we’ve been thinking about this, are you interested,” Thacher said.
The association also has the option to use a water main that runs east through the Royal Tee development and could be tied into the rest of the lines at Sandoval, Thacher said.
Some of the area’s residents still live in unincorporated Lee County. Thacher and Barron both said the city has to determine how and whether it can serve residents who live outside the city.
The Pine Island association began serving northwest Cape residents before the city could provide services, Thacher said. The service area also includes homes at the southern end of the Burnt Store Road area.
The city and the association went to court in 2005 over the association’s right to provide the service. A settlement achieved through mediation was approved in 2008. The city agreed to concede the association had the right under a franchise granted by Lee County. The city also tried to assert authority over rates charged by the association. A judge ruled the city had no power to set the rates.
The chief consideration now is whether the association’s pipes are compatible with the city’s system, said Councilman Kevin Grail. Part of his district gets service from the association.
But the city doesn’t plan to bring water to the association’s territory until the North 2 expansion project is built in 2015-2017.
“Our goal eventually is to get all residents hooked up on Cape Coral city water,” McGrail said.
“It’s going to boil down to what the engineering looks like,” McGrail said.