DELRAY BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The Florida Department of Transportation is flatly denying claims by some residents of GL Homes’ “Seven Bridges” that “between 1.5 and 1.9 people must die in a car crash” before a traffic light will be installed at the community’s back entrance which flows onto 441/SR7, north of the Oaks.
Jonathan Overton, FDOT’s Acting District Traffic Operations Engineer for Palm Beach County tells BocaNewsNow.com that the claim “is a complete myth.”
A small but vocal group of homeowners in GL’s luxury community have been reaching out to area media organizations claiming that FDOT and GL are waiting for fatal accidents before installing a traffic light on a stretch of SR7/US441 that is currently zoned as 55mph. They are citing a made-up metric of “1.5 to 1.9 deaths.” The northbound section in question, just north of the Thomas Family Farm, starts with a merge from three lanes to two at 45mph, then raises to 55mph just as the Seven Bridges driveway comes into view.
There is no reasonable expectation that cars driving at highway speeds will need to circumnavigate Seven Bridges homeowners exiting the property.
The issue, according to Overton, dates back to 2013 when GL Homes initiated early construction.
”The condition was that the developer (GL) had to post a bond for a full traffic signal to be installed under their (GL’s) cost, if warranted, within two years.”
GL posted a bond of roughly $250,000 as required. But as construction for mega communities span several years, there was not enough traffic two years later — in 2015 — to warrant a light. GL, according to officials familiar with the matter, received its bond back.
“We are still obligated to install (the light)” said one GL Homes official to BocaNewsNow.com, “which we are fully prepared to do and have been prepared to do when we constructed that entrance/exit.”
The tie up, according to the GL official, is the need for a traffic study. Vocal homeowners have encouraged homeowners in other nearby communities to drive extensively in that area on 441 to skew the count.
Overton suggests the mobilization is meaningless.
”We look at traffic over a consistent eight hour period,” he said, but doesn’t discount the need for a light — whether numbers are skewed or not.
”This was a suburban area, then you come up to Stonebridge (country club), you have The Oaks and Seven Bridges, then Saturnia and (Dakota). This isn’t the road it was 20 years ago.”
Public documents suggest that GL Homes intends to use the Seven Bridges driveway — exiting onto SR7/US441 — for the community it is now building immediately to the south of Seven Bridges. As many as 1600 homes could be using the driveway as a way to enter or exit their communities.
GL Homes and FDOT are working to mitigate the problem.
Said one official familiar with the rumors of deaths being required before lights are installed, “you have a lot of out of staters moving into these communities. They’re vocal, but they have no idea what they’re talking about.”