Restrictions: The Ocean Avenue Bridge, over the Intracoastal Waterway in the Town of Lantana, is closed through Spring 2014, for complete reconstruction. Traffic is being detoured via A1A, Lake Ave./Lucerne Ave., and US-1. Please note: On Saturday, April 7, the Lake Avenue Bridge will be closed from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. for the Women for Women running event. During this time, motorists may detour via Southern Boulevard. For more information about this project, please contact Palm Beach County Construction Services at 561-684-4000.
Restrictions: The outside eastbound lane will be closed periodically on the Flagler Memorial Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, in the City of West Palm Beach and the Town of Palm Beach, between 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday, April 9, through Friday, April 13, for pre-construction activities. The sidewalk on the south side of the bridge will also be closed when the travel lane is closed. For more information about this closure, please contact Public Information Officer Tish Burgher at (954) 325-8022.
THE BIG PICTURE
Special to the Civic Association: Tim Pallesen
Ocean Boulevard (A1A) south of Southern Boulevard closes to traffic for four months on Monday.
But crews tearing up the roadway to install a new sewer main are promising to do everything possible to minimize the inconvenience for Ocean Boulevard residents.
Anyone who doesn’t live or work between Southern Boulevard and Phipps Ocean Park must detour west across the Lake Worth and Southern Boulevard bridges to take Dixie Highway as their alternate north-south route of travel. Ocean Boulevard will remain closed until Aug. 10. In addition, the Lantana Bridge is closed for two years for rebuilding so that isn't an escape route.
Travel on that alternate route will be aggravated by a repaving project on Southern Boulevard west of the bridge that begins April 23.
But residents who live along Ocean Boulevard have been promised that they will still have access to their homes.
Emergency vehicles will be allowed to pass through the active work sites at all times. Garbage, yard trash and mail delivery also will be maintained.
Crews from Burkhardt Construction will work from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday to dig up and replace the 12-inch force main that lies beneath Ocean Boulevard.
Construction will begin at Phipps Park and move north, covering an estimated 200 feet of roadway each day.
Local traffic will be allowed up to but not past an active dig site.
“The only place blocked on any given day will be the residence or condo next to that 200-foot work zone,” Burkhardt spokesman Wayne King said.
A resident who lives within the work zone still will be able to get in and out of their driveway.
“If we’re right in front of a driveway, we will put a steel plate down. We will try to do the best we can to always give access,” Mr. King said. “You may have to wait a few minutes. But if you live or work there, we will stop to make sure you can get in and out.”
Mr. King can be reached at (561) 718-2605 for any questions.
Construction work on Ocean Boulevard north of Southern Boulevard begins on June 12.
One lane of traffic will be closed from Southern Boulevard to South County Road until Oct. 31 with a flagman guiding all through traffic. This is a well-known traffic bottleneck when there are two lanes open so the backup is expected to be terrible. Seek an alternate route.
The sewer project’s third phase north to Island Road begins July 5 and continues with lane closures until Nov. 19.
Lane closures because of road work will also slow traffic into Palm Beach.
A lane of traffic will be closed in both directions when Southern Boulevard is repaved west of the bridge during two weeks starting April 23.
The repaving is scheduled from 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Other road and sidewalk improvements on Southern Boulevard will restrict traffic from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily into July.
The Florida Department of Transportation violated its promise for no rush-hour lane closures April 4 when a backhoe tore up Southern east of Parker Avenue for a sewer repair, closing two lanes and causing a traffic backup to Interstate 95. "That was just a one-time thing. It won't happen again," FDOT spokeswoman Meredith Cruz said.
A possibility that the Flagler Memorial Bridge and the Southern Boulevard Bridge might be rebuilt at the same time is Palm Beach’s most serious future traffic concern.
Pre-construction work has closed one eastbound lane of traffic periodically on the existing Flagler Memorial Bridge to allow the drilling of test shafts for a new bridge immediately to the south.
Work on the test shafts will be complete in a few weeks. But actual bridge construction can’t begin until the South Florida Water Management District issues an environmental permit that’s been delayed because of a dispute with the Palm Harbor Marina.
“We can’t go forward with the permanent drill shafts until we get that permit,” Jim Hughes, the Florida Department of Transportation project manager for the bridge, said. “That’s what the issue with the marina is holding up.”
The marina, which claims the new bridge would be too close its northernmost dock, has threatened to sue FDOT for damages.
West Palm Beach is trying to break the impasse by giving Palm Harbor Marina a replacement dock further south at the city’s marina.
But settlement talks between Palm Harbor, the city and FDOT are still underway, making it uncertain whether construction of the Flagler Memorial Bridge can be finished by December 2014 as planned. The successful resolution must be completed in the next few weeks or the construction start date is in jeopardy.
Construction of the Southern Boulevard Bridge is set to begin in February 2015, raising the fear that two of Palm Beach’s three bridges will be under construction at the same time.
The state chose to build a new bridge immediately south of the existing Flagler Memorial Bridge to minimize the interruption of traffic during construction.
Plans call for the center of the new bridge to be built first. The new bridge then would be connected to the two ends of the existing bridge.