Windermere leaders discuss plans for Old Dirt Main project

The town hosted a virtual public input workshop to address resident questions and collect feedback on the 90% plans for the Old Dirt Main Paving Project.

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Town of Windermere staff and residents came together to discuss the 90% plans for the Old Dirt Main Paving Project Tuesday, Aug. 30.

Town Manager Robert Smith said the project, ongoing for the last 18 months, runs “just from West Second Avenue all the way to the canal.” 

It has been discussed and negotiated with the adjacent property owners. 

Smith said the negotiations included moving the right-of-way about 15 feet to the east when completing the utility extension to save trees and landscaping, and putting in a water line. 

The paving project is not part of a grant and most likely will be funded in late 2023 or early 2024, according to Smith. 

Although the projects are separate, Smith said the paving coincides with Phase 1 of the Windermere Ward Trail/Multi-Modal Project the town is working on with Kimley-Horn & Associates, and the town manager hopes the town will find the money to do both projects concurrently, although that is yet to be determined. 

“We’re trying to get the 90% plans completed so we can go ahead and get final approval — and if some monies should become available for funding of not only the potable water project but also for the paving project, we’ll make sure that we include those in our appropriation request,” Smith said. 


Hao Chau, representative from Kimley-Horn, said the plans have not deviated much from the 45% completion plans presented in October, but the organization has provided additional details and coordinated with the Ward Trail project to make sure the transitions are seamless. 

Chau explained there were drainage challenges with the existing road.

“There was really no drainage facilities, and the road was flat, and it was a dirt road, so you were getting a lot of ponding, a lot of just muck bogging everybody down,” he said.

Chau said Kimley-Horn tried to match the existing west edge of the dirt road as much as possible to minimize impacts. 

“We tried our best to basically hold that left edge of dirt road that’s existing now and really do our paving to the right,” Chau said. “We’re using the existing dirt road footprint, as well as the concrete sidewalk to provide a consistent road that’s 18 feet wide.”

In addition, to minimize impacts to the western side of the road, the project will include a ribbon curb and a cross slope to drain everything to the east into a curb and gutter, before collecting the drainage with a storm collection system into a swale area, prior to connecting to the existing discharge. 

Chau said the plan also will tie into the paving improvement project in the design phase at West Second Avenue. 

There will be some impact to myrtle trees, as well as one oak tree on the northeast corner of West Second Avenue.

As part of the road plan, Kimley-Horn also will install an 8-inch water main as part of the road plan. The water main runs along the west side of the road and since the last meeting the organization has moved the blowoff valve away from residents and the road so the connection is just north of West First Avenue. 


Smith and Public Works Director Tonya-Elliott Moore inquired on the possible realignment of North Drive.

Chau said although he believes there is a benefit to lining up North Drive, the company would have to determine what kind of impact it would create.

“I’ve seen in the past people just use it and kind of fishtail over,” Smith said. “I didn’t know if lining it up would alleviate some of that, but again, we have a cross street that we need to make sure we line up with, as well.”

Impacted residents Jules and Kathy Massee, who live on the northwest corner of West Second Avenue and Old Dirt Main, said they had questions relating to a temporary blowoff valve to be located on the corner of the driveway on the water main plans.  

The Massees said they would prefer the valve be moved out of the way to the north to avoid potential impact from parked cars and assure access and visual appearance. Chau said he would provide a picture of what the valve would look, as well as information on the future connection through the Master Use Plan.

Resident Matt Tomaszewski asked if the existing sidewalk would be lost through the project. 

Smith said the sidewalk would be removed as part of the Multi-Modal Project, with that project to be constructed first or at the same time as the paving project. 

The Ward Trail project is waiting on federal funds to come through after the 90% plan was approved in August and is estimated to begin construction in January or February 2023.

The 90% plans for the Old Dirt Main Paving Project will next be presented to the Windermere Town Council at its Tuesday, Sept. 13, meeting. 



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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