Caloosa Belle

Helms Road under construction

Construction has begun on the 2.67-mile Helms Road Extension. the road will open up the South LaBelle area for development, completing the connection from Helms Road to SR 80, west of LaBelle.

Pictured from left: Hendry County Director of Public Works Shane Parker, Brian Paul, Julie Paul Obney and County Administrator Charles Chapman. (Patty Brant/Caloosa Belle)

Construction of the $17.7 million two-lane roadway is expected to be complete in the Spring of 2017. Construction will include 4’ paved shoulders, 5’ wide sidewalks and 10’ wide multi-use paths. Plans include the road’s expansion to four-lanes in the future.

A small crowd gathered at the beginning site on October 14 to symbolically break ground. Hendry County Administrator Charles Chapman said a few words to note the occasion, saying the project is a prime example of a true “P3 Adventure,” a public/private partnership. The partnership includes FDOT, the City of LaBelle, Hendry County, especially the Road and Bridge Department, and private landowners who provided purchased and donated rights-of-way.

Mr. Chapman noted that putting this together was “no small feat” and that it will be the “paramount east-west connecting road bisecting LaBelle’s growth area.”

“Without private cooperation,” Mr. Chapman said, “we couldn’t get it done.”

Helms Road Extention is a crucial part of developing several large projects in the planning stages for South LaBelle: the Rodina Sector Plan and the Southwest Hendry Sector Plan over the next 20-30 years.

Mr. Chapman singled out for recognition on the project Hendry County Public Works Director Shane Parker who was named State County Engineers and Road Superintendents (FACERS) Rural County Engineer of the Year by the Florida Association of Counties last June.