Engineers are working on a solution for the traffic that comes to a halt at Northlake Boulevard and I-95 each day at rush hour, but it’s going to take some time.
The Florida Department of Transportation is conducting a project development and environment study along I-95 about a half-mile north and south of Northlake Boulevard to determine what changes are warranted. The study will also examine Northlake Boulevard from Military Trail to Sunrise/Sandtree Drive.
FDOT Project Manager Scott Thurman said $1.9 million for design costs is funded in 2021, while $14.53 million in construction costs is funded in 2024.
The study considers three alternatives: no build, meaning no improvements; transportation system management operations, which are low-cost, short-term improvements such as turn lanes and signals; or build.
Building could include changes such as a diverging diamond interchange and a flyover concept, Consultant Project Manager Bill Evans said. The diverging diamond interchange would reconfigure the east-west movements so drivers can get on the highway without having to stop for a traffic signal.
Evans gave a presentation Tuesday night at a public kickoff meeting at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott, 4000 RCA Blvd. About 70 people attended, many of whom own homes or businesses in the area. Evans said the goal is to minimize the impact to them while helping drivers get around Northlake Boulevard better.
Kevin Dalton, a Jupiter resident who owns the Shell and Sunoco gas stations on Northlake Boulevard, said he doesn’t want to see any flyovers. Traffic is bad during season and rush hour, which isn’t good for business. But flyovers would “irreparably harm” businesses, he said.
“If we can do something of minimal impact, that helps me, but a complete redesign with flyovers would kill me,” Dalton said.
Interchange changes will be designed to improve traffic flow, accommodate future development, increase safety and decrease emergency response times. FDOT’s study of options will be completed in 2017. The Federal Highway Administration will have to give its blessing, and the design phase usually takes about two years, Evans said. Construction will start once the money becomes available.
PGA Property Owners Association President Bob Hodgson said new roads keep being built and road designs changed to accommodate traffic coming east from western developments. His solution: stop the traffic at its source.
“Stop all the development west of here, and they wouldn’t have this problem,” he said.
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