The History of the Big Cypress Preservation


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Joe Bonness | Naples Pathways Coalition , Inc. |

http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Joe-Bonness/45841872

Joe Bonness | Naples Pathways Coalition , Inc. |ZoomInfo.com

JOE BONNESS, DIRECTOR – One of the founders of NPC and a former co-president, “Iron Joe” Bonness also has the distinction of being a world champion triathelete and is the namesake of the Iron Joe Turkey Ride, one of NPC’s signature events.He has lived in Naples since1967 and owns and operates highway construction, quarry, trucking, and electrical operations including Better Roads, Inc., Southern Sand & Stone, Advantage Transportation, and iTran Partners. Joe’s professional affiliations include Asphalt Contractor Association of Florida, Florida Transportation Builders Association, National Asphalt Pavement Association,American Transportation Builders Association, and Rotary Club of Naples North. He represents NPC on several committees of the Collier Metropolitan Planning Organization and is a member of USA Trialthalon, Ironman Triathlons, and Naples Area Triathletes.

But there’s much more to the project than enhanced bicycle safety, notes JoeBonness, chairman of the Pathways Advisory Committee for the Collier County Metropolitan Planning Organization.There is a significant improvement in vehicle safety that comes from widening the shoulders, saidBonness, who is also CEO of Better Roads Inc. Grass grows against the edge of the pavement, trapping dirt that eventually raises the ground above the surface of the road. That causes water topool at the edge of the pavement and soak into the ground underneath, softening it.That soft ground allows tires to wear a rut in the pavement near the outside edge. Water collects there during heavy rains and vehicles hitting those puddles lose traction putting them at risk ofhydroplaning,Bonness explained.”If you can chase the water off four to six feet (from the travel lane) you don’t have that problem,Bonness said.The bulk of the project costs will be replacingguardrails along the 32-mile stretch, an act of routine maintenance required since the posts supporting the currentguardrails are old and prone to deterioration.So even though the Pathways Advisory Committee reviewed the project and gave it its endorsement because of the potential benefit to cyclists, “It’s more of a safetyfactor for the car-traveling public,”Bonness said. Better Roads maysubmit a bid for the jobbutBonness sees no conflict in voting in favor of the expenditure.Paving a shoulder, as opposed to a whole road, is a specialty job that will probably be handled by someone out of Miami,he said. “You’re not out there with your big equipment. Typically, we don’t get those jobs. It’s a long way out there,” he said.If he was looking to generate business for himself, he probably would have voted against the project, he said.”Being a road builder, I’d probably rather see them spend the money on something closer to town,”Bonness said. By definition, having someone employed in the paving industry on the pathways committee will lead to perceived conflicts,Bonness pointed out, arguing that a professional’s insights on the committee are valuable….

The grooves/rutsMrBonness speaks of are already in the recentlyre-pavedUS41….

That’s because you’re toodaggone polite (stupid) to call JoeBonness tohis face and say: “Isn’t this, in truth, just a taxpayer-funded gravy train for your paving company?”Asking old Joe that wouldn’t be nice, andso therefore doesn’t fit the constraints of polite discourse, andso therefore cannot be done.Now, let Joe get back onhis sailboat and go win hisself a yacht race while the rest of the world antes up to keep him in the lifestyle to which he’s grown accustomed….

Bonness or a bunch ofsprout-munchers in spandex?…

Bonness or a bunch ofsprout-munchers in spandex?You have to admit Bonness is pretty shrewd.He is playing the free government money card better than anyone in town….

You have to admitBonness is pretty shrewd.He is playing the free government money card better than anyone in town….

Writing about local history makes a more interesting story than Brent Batten criticizing Joe Bonness for sharing Barron Collier’s vision and efforts to make our community a better place.

Background

Employment History

  • President
    Naples Pathways Coalition , Inc.
  • Chief Executive Officer
    Better Roads Inc.

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Board Member
    Better Roads Inc.
  • Member
    Ironman Corporation
  • Member
    Naples Area Triathletes
  • Member
    USA Trialthalon
  • Board Member
    Asphalt Contractors Association of Florida Inc
Company Description: NAPLES PATHWAYS COALITION is a non-profit group of local citizens advocating a fully integrated and safe transportation network of sidewalks, bike lanes, bike paths, multi-use paths and greenways for use by cyclists, pedestrians and other people-powered transport throughout Naples and Collier County.

Naples Pathways Coalition , Inc.

300 5Th Ave. South Suite 101, #464
Naples, Florida 34102

(239) 777-7718
www.naplespathways.org

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U.S. 41 carries history on its shoulders

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/columnists/brent-batten/brent-batten-us-41-carries-history-its-shoulders

U.S. 41 carries history on its shoulders

In an age where state employees are forced to take what amounts to a 3 percent pay cut, when hundreds of millions of dollars are chopped from a state land acquisition program and when construction on college campuses has been curtailed, this one is a head scratcher.

The state is poised to spend almost $7 million to add two feet of pavement to the shoulders on U.S. 41 east of State Road 29 all the way to the Dade County line.

Head scratching might progress to eye gouging if one focuses on a stated benefit of the project, better bicycle lanes.

Spending millions to make a remote stretch of U.S. 41 more bicycle friendly doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s not like green-conscious commuters are cycling to work between Naples and Miami. The main beneficiaries would be hard-core recreational cyclists who might undertake a sightseeing trip through the Big Cypress.

More pedal power to them, but that’s hardly a priority, given the fiscal realities of the moment.

But there’s much more to the project than enhanced bicycle safety, notes Joe Bonness, chairman of the Pathways Advisory Committee for the Collier County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

There is a significant improvement in vehicle safety that comes from widening the shoulders, said Bonness, who is also CEO of Better Roads Inc.

Grass grows against the edge of the pavement, trapping dirt that eventually raises the ground above the surface of the road. That causes water to pool at the edge of the pavement and soak into the ground underneath, softening it.

That soft ground allows tires to wear a rut in the pavement near the outside edge. Water collects there during heavy rains and vehicles hitting those puddles lose traction putting them at risk of hydroplaning, Bonness explained.

“If you can chase the water off four to six feet (from the travel lane) you don’t have that problem, Bonness said.

The bulk of the project costs will be replacing guardrails along the 32-mile stretch, an act of routine maintenance required since the posts supporting the current guardrails are old and prone to deterioration.

So even though the Pathways Advisory Committee reviewed the project and gave it its endorsement because of the potential benefit to cyclists, “It’s more of a safety factor for the car-traveling public,” Bonness said.

Better Roads may submit a bid for the job but Bonness sees no conflict in voting in favor of the expenditure.

Paving a shoulder, as opposed to a whole road, is a specialty job that will probably be handled by someone out of Miami, he said. “You’re not out there with your big equipment. Typically, we don’t get those jobs. It’s a long way out there,” he said.

If he was looking to generate business for himself, he probably would have voted against the project, he said. “Being a road builder, I’d probably rather see them spend the money on something closer to town,” Bonness said.

By definition, having someone employed in the paving industry on the pathways committee will lead to perceived conflicts, Bonness pointed out, arguing that a professional’s insights on the committee are valuable.

If you accept the case that the overall project has merit beyond the benefit to bicyclists, there’s still an aspect that will drive fiscal minimalists crazy.

Included in the price is $210,000 for an environmental study.

Bear in mind, the guardrails will be replaced where they stand today. The extra pavement for the shoulders will fill in the unpaved gap between the edge of the current shoulder and the guardrail. No new right of way is needed. Nothing is extending into virgin ground.

FDOT spokeswoman Cindy Clemmons offers this explanation: “On the U.S. 41 project we are doing the $210,000 environmental study because of the historical and cultural significance of the area. This section of U.S. 41 along with the adjacent canal are historically significant as well as the numerous bridges along the length of the project due to their age being over 50 years old.

“We have to document how the proposed improvements could potentially have an adverse effect on the area, or how it may not, depending on the type of improvements being proposed. We also have to determine if there are any significant cultural resources along the project, and if we are impacting them even if they are within our right-of-way.”

The potential history and culture in the two feet of unpaved shoulder between the guardrail and the pavement east of State Road 29 merits $210,000?

I’m still scratching my head.

Connect with Brent Batten at naplesnews.com/staff/brent_batten


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DOT says contractor to blame for delays in I-75 construction in Pasco

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/accidents/fdot-says-contractor-to-blame-for-delays-in-i-75-construction-in-pasco/2157463

DOT says contractor to blame for delays in I-75 construction in Pasco

WESLEY CHAPEL — First came the new rest stops. Then widening both stretches of highway by another lane. A maze of flashing orange traffic cones cropped up like cornstalks and never went away. More than two years ago, the 3.6-mile slab of interstate between state roads 54 and 56 became a terrifying traffic funhouse, and there’s hardly an end in sight.

The Florida Department of Transportation made a deal with Better Roads Inc. that gave the contractor 565 days to finish widening the lanes, said DOT district spokesman John McShaffrey. Then the usual and legitimate hang-ups presented themselves. DOT granted the contractor 270 extra days to work on the road because of weather, holidays, added work and design changes. With delays, the construction was slated to be finished by Nov. 10.

It’s not.

Why?

Better Roads did not return calls for comment. But McShaffrey offered an explanation: “We can point toward really a lack of production and work effort.”

Better Roads has since been taken off the bid list for any future transportation projects by the state. DOT is fining the company $5,809.88 for every day past deadline the construction is not complete. Today marks the 163rd past Better Roads’ deadline, which translates to $947,010.44 the contractor will have to pay.

McShaffrey said DOT expects more delays on the project with seasonal cold fronts blowing into the area. Workers are in the paving phase of construction and if the weather gets too cold, they won’t be able to put down the top layer of asphalt, he said.

Better Roads hasn’t indicated when the project will be finished, McShaffrey said. He guessed sometime in spring 2014.

“I wouldn’t even begin to say what month,” he said.

Regular commuters have probably seen their share of close calls navigating through the $23.7 million widening project, most of which came from federal money.

In January 2012, a man died when he was ejected from his car when it rolled into a median. That July, a car crossed the median and split in two when it hit two other oncoming vehicles. Last month, six people were injured when a BMW careened into two cars on the shoulder.

A look at the numbers, though, shows construction has not made the area discernibly more crash-prone than it was.

The stretch of road saw 72 crashes in 2009 and 24 crashes in 2010, according to Florida Highway Patrol statistics. In 2011, when construction began, there were 73 crashes and 75 crashes in 2012. This year saw 78 crashes.

The next interstate widening project from S.R. 54 north to S.R. 52 is set to begin in spring 2014. Over the next few years, McShaffrey said, DOT plans to widen the lanes from the turnpike cutoff in Wildwood to the I-275 split in Wesley Chapel.

Contact Alex Orlando at [email protected]tampabay.com or (727) 869-6247.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: A story in the Dec. 18 Pasco Times misidentified the next planned lane-widening project on Interstate 75. The Florida Department of Transportation will start work on the interstate stretch from S.R. 54 to S.R. 52 in the spring. The article also mis-reported the date financial penalties began for Better Roads Inc., which wasJuly 15. The total amount of the fine, as of today , is $947,010.44.


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Who is the Bonnes Family, in their own words.


A Company On The Move


The Bonness family, owners of Better Roads Inc., know the construction and paving business through and through. They should, as they have been committed to the industry for more than 75 years.
  
    The family construction business began in Wisconsin in 1927, and began working in the Southwest Florida area in 1935.
    The company, then known as Highway Pavers, Inc., relocated to Southwest Florida in 1967, making it one of the oldest and most experienced paving and construction companies in the area. In 1983, the company was divided into two entities, with Better Roads Inc. assuming responsibility for all construction work, complete with equipment. Highway Pavers, Inc. retained the properties, fill pits and lime rock quarry operations.

          In 1985 Better Roads, Inc. acquired the assets of an existing construction company in Lake Placid. Better Roads operates offices and asphalt plants in Naples, North Fort Myers, South Fort Myers, and Lake Placid. We provide complete construction and paving services in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Desoto, Glades, Highlands, Hendry, Hardee, and Okeechobee counties, plus southern Sarasota County.

         In 1991 Southern Sand and Stone Inc. was launched near Naples to provide for Better Roads’ aggregate needs. In 1999 the Bonness family purchased an existing quarry, Coral Rock, and a trucking operation, Advantage Transportation, in the North Fort Myers area. With these additions, Better Roads is able to ensure our aggregate supply, maintain its quantity and quality, and keep prices competitive.         Better Roads Inc. has the financial status that allows the company to back up its commitments. Better Roads has over 300 employees and produces revenue of 90-100 million dollars annually. We are a member of the Florida Transportation Builders Association, Asphalt Contractors Association of Florida, National Asphalt Pavement Association and the area Chambers of Commerce.

        Better Roads Inc. the Bonness family, and their predecessors have played a major role in the growth of Southwest Florida by providing many of the important transportation routes necessary to accommodate the ever increasing population of the area. We are proud of our record of successfully completing every project – from the simplest residential driveway to the most complex traffic arterial – on time and within budget. We have the staff, the experience, the plants and the equipment to get the job done correctly and in a timely manner.  Add to that Better Roads’ dedication, skill and financial capabilities and you have a company that offers rock solid construction.

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Sign the Petition

Petitioning Florida Department of Transportation District 6 and 16 others

Help Save the Everglades from more destruction, Stop ROGG (River of Grass Greenway).

Please sign the petition to Stop ROGG (River of Grass Greenway Project) and help save the Everglades and Big Cypress.

Nature Has A Right To Exist.  The Florida Everglades and Big Cypress need you!  Eyes around the world are focused on Florida and the fate of these fragile ecosystems!

Join us in taking responsibility to preserve and protect these fragile ecosystems.  The Everglades is a designated World Heritage Site, “Wetland Area of Global Importance”, and is the only tropical wetlands of its kind in existence.  Help concerned citizens stop the River of Grass Greenway (ROGG) project, a 76 mile 12 to 14 feet wide hard surfaced road that would run parallel to the Tamiami Trail (US41) from San Marco Road in Naples, FL to Krome Avenue in Miami, FL.  The proposed ROGG project would cut through 6 national and state parks, preserves, forests, and wildlife refuges which provide critical habitat to several endangered and protected species such as; the Florida Panther, Wood Stork, Bald Eagle, Indigo Snake, Spoon Bills, and Snail Kites, to name a few.

Supporters of ROGG are “Green Washing” a project that would dredge, fill in wetlands , redirect water flow, destroy orchids, cut thru cypress strands, construct bridging, board walks, rest stops, parking lots, and facilities.  All of this taking place in an area where billions of federal and state tax dollars have already been spent on massive restoration efforts.  A $1 million dollar Feasibility Study currently estimates initial costs to build the ROGG will cost taxpayers $140 million dollars.   Long-term costs to operate ROGG will make this project even more costly.  Tax dollars should not be wasted on a recreational project that is not needed, and could possibly undermine restoration efforts such as CERP and lead to additional costs and delays.  The tax dollars that would be spent on ROGG would be better spent on Everglades restoration and to improve bike pathways in the urban/suburban communities.  This asphalt roadway violates mandates set forth by Congress for the protection on Natural Resources, Wetlands, and Waters on federal and state lands.  The ROGG would open the door to further development and destruction of the Everglades and Big Cypress.

The ROGG would cut through ancestral lands, sacred sites, and burial grounds of the Miccosukee, Seminole, and Simanolee people who still inhabit the area, and who have a historic relationship with the land.  Historical agreements made with the Simanolee people are being ignored and dishonored.

Supporters of ROGG fail to disclose that there are many opportunities currently existing to explore the Everglades and Big Cypress.  There are hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, biking, horse riding, and other recreational and educational opportunities in the many area parks, preserves, forests, and wildlife refuges.

The choices we make today, our support, and our voices will determine the fate of the Everglades and Big Cypress.  The Everglades is known as “The River of Grass” to some, and to others as “The River of Stars”.  Help prevent a project, a potential Pandora’s Box , that could be used as a springboard for future development projects, and in turn lead to the final demise of these treasured ecosystems.  Stand united with concerned citizens in preventing this proposed travesty.  Lend your voice to send a message to companies, politicians, and special interest groups; “Keep Development Out of The Everglades and Big Cypress”.

Please sign the petition to Stop ROGG (River of Grass Greenway Project) and help save the Everglades and Big Cypress.


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What’s Next?

Extended July 15th deadline provides the ability to send more comments to [email protected] Here are some abbreviated ideas statements one could reword as they like to make points they might not have already made about ROGG.

1 There is not enough space to install ROGG as planned on US 41 and maintain current level of safety for motorists or current quality of habitat adjacent to US 41 ROGG will eliminate from existence due to ROGG being installed on top of them.

2 An ROGG plan conceptual idea of narrowing the outside width of US 41 by 8 feet (25%) in unspecified sections to facilitate a stealthful speed reduction based on fear of head on collisions is a deadly idea to even consider and should be permanently dropped.

3 Motorist safety will be cut by 50% due to ROGG and design B-9 due to ROGG taking up 50% of the historically available space to safely pull off US 41 (Tamiami Trail).

4 The May 2015 plan aside from a few design details is mostly a promotional brochure touting statistics based upon totally subjective data to skew results in favor of developing this culturally, environmentally and financially destructive idea.

5 Many have asked why are they wanting this – This project’s origin is at or very close to a road building family (the Bonness family) in Collier county that has a good chance reap millions (145 of them) if the project is built.

6 We do not want to see our Indigenous neighbors that actually live on the ROGG path on US 41 have to put up with the negative repercussions ROGG will cause to their lives significant religious sites that ROGG construction will unavoidably be the direct cause of..

7 Hundreds if not Thousands of mature Cypress near US 41 are currently planned to be cut as per the preferred alternatives shown in the May 2015 ROGG master plan.

8 Between ROGG construction operation and maintenance for 20 years the plan estimates cost to be $225,000,000 dollars of taxpayer money. Their estimate did not include design, construction set up or Mitigation for environmental harm which will be a huge that plan authors chose to not include anywhere. This is an unjustifiable financial burden to put on taxpayers for a path anywhere other than urban areas crying for good paths that will actually save local lives lost due to the lack of them every yea


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