PALM BEACH COUNTY: OVERLAP WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MINOR…GRIDLOCK WAS UNEXPECTED…
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — Motorists in West Boca Raton and West Delray Beach, already frustrated with the stalled construction project creating traffic problems on Lyons Road, are now dealing with another major problem. Road widening on Clint Moore Road both east and west of the Lyons Road intersection. The project will continue for an undetermined period of time. Lane restrictions are now in place on Clint Moore and Lyons on all sides of the intersection.
Deputy Palm Beach County Engineer Joanne Keller told BocaNewsNow.com that the project was planned more than a year ago, and was never supposed to be exacerbated by what has become the construction crisis on Lyons in the same area.
“The Clint Moore Road widening project from Oaks Club Dive to Long Lake Drive was bid in September 2021 and construction began in July 2022,” said Keller. “This was well after the Lyons Road (L-38 Canal to Atlantic Avenue) project was bid in May 2020 and there should have only been an overlap of a few months because the original expected completion date for the Lyons Road project was in September 2022. These two projects are not related, both being built under separate contracts and following different schedules.”
As BocaNewsNow.com has reported extensively, the Lyons Road widening project between Clint Moore Road and Atlantic Avenue has become what many call a “disaster.” The current phase was expected to last just a few months, but the project has been largely dormant since the Spring when workers found unmapped utility lines under Lyons Road. That required work to stop while restrictions remain in place. Huge traffic backups — and serious accidents — are now routine. The Lyons project is expected to resume next week. It will now likely continue until spring of 2023.
The area infrastructure issues are, at least in part, being blamed on G.L. Homes. The builder erected thousands of homes in The Bridges, Seven Bridges, Lotus, and Boca Bridges, without first working with Palm Beach County to widen Lyons and nearby roads to handle the massive influx of new homeowners. To be clear, Florida statutes did not require G.L. Homes to pre-fund infrastructure projects before breaking ground, but at least some lawmakers say G.L. Had a responsibility to do so anyway. A Palm Beach County County Commissioner blames other commissioners for the problems the new communities have caused.
“The Palm Beach County Commission should have never permitted the over-development of the area,” said Palm Beach County Commissioner Maria Sachs during a meeting last week held in “The Bridges.” “(G.L. Homes) could have never broken ground if we didn’t give them permission to do so.”
Commissioners on Wednesday accepted a plea from G.L. Homes to temporarily table a request for permission to build another 1,000 homes on U.S. 441 just north of Clint Moore Road, approximately across from The Oaks and Seven Bridges. The builder is prepared to give Palm Beach County land in Loxahatchee in exchange for permission to build more homes in the area known as the “Agricultural Reserve,” an area that was supposed to be left as farmland. Commissioners appeared ready to deny the plan in a vote last week. But by delaying the request until next year, some suspect G.L. Homes is waiting for new commissioners to be elected who may be more favorable to its development plans.
The “Agricultural Reserve” has become something of a joke in the region. Despite signage declaring the area as the Ag Reserve, little farmland is left, and infrastructure problems are growing. Especially for the thousands of motorists using Lyons and Clint Moore to get to school or to work.
“Unfortunately,” said Keller, the Palm Beach County Deputy Engineer, “the unforeseen circumstances on the Lyons Road project have caused more of a schedule overlap than was anticipated.”
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