By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor
A controversial plan that would expand Boca Raton’s Glades Road from six to eight lanes has been put on hold as a consultant to the Florida Department of Transportation has developed a new idea to help address growing traffic on the road.
A new proposal involves adding two new ramps to Interstate-95 and additional turning lanes at the highway’s off-ramps while keeping Glades Road at six lanes.
Consultants behind the plan say drivers will have more time to decide if they want to stay on Glades Road or enter the interstate. They also say the extra lanes will help prevent congestion and is overall a safer plan. It forecasts handling traffic through the year 2040, according to consultants.
“That’s a very exciting design,” Mayor Susan Haynie said. “It really achieves the purpose without adding a lot of asphalt.”
The initial 2009 plan proposed widening Glades Road to eight lanes beginning around Town Center Mall past the highway to Florida Atlantic University.
But the plan hit a roadblock because city rules do not permit adding lanes and wasn’t supported by city officials.
To avoid breaking city rules, consulting firm AECOM redesigned a plan, which involves adding two ramps. The eastbound ramp would start near Northwest Executive Center Drive and the westbound ramp would begin close to the main entrance of FAU and cross over Airport Road.
The new design also provides improvements for walkers and bicyclists. It incorporates bicycle lanes in both directions from Butts Road to Northwest 13 Street and upgrading existing sidewalks to make them safer.
It is unclear how much the project will cost and how it will be funded. The original project was estimated to cost more than $50 million.
Officials said it could take years before the project is picked up to be funded. The earliest the project could be funded is fiscal year 2017 if it is incorporated into ongoing plans to update a stretch of I-95 in Boca.