By Hector Florin
BRINY BREEZES — Months after the completion of three new residential tunnels across State Road A1A in Manalapan, the Town Council will consider whether it should follow suit.
At the Oct. 23 Town Council meeting, Briny Breezes Inc. director Robert Purcell addressed the idea of building a tunnel, and council members agreed to continue talks on Nov. 20. The town had been sidetracked by talks with Ocean Land Investments when Purcell said he previously raised the issue.
The day after the Oct. 23 meeting, Purcell said he contacted the firm that helped the Town of Gulf Stream build its tunnel at the golf course — A&B Engineering of Wellington.
Purcell said A&B sent him pictures of previous tunnel projects as well. “They had experience with tunnels,” he said. He and Town Alderman Nancy Boczon agree that digging a tunnel will allow for unimpeded, safer access and will prevent accidents with golf carts.
While state law prohibits unregistered vehicles to cross a state road such as A1A, it’s common to see carts crossing the road in town. “Luckily no one’s gotten hurt” recently, Boczon said. “We’re getting more and more golf carts.”
She recalled discussions of tunnels as far back as 20 years ago. “Now that they’re the popular thing” — with Manalapan and Gulf Stream adding them — it’s natural for the topic to resurface.
Both Purcell and Boczon think the crossing of Marina Drive across A1A to Ruthmary Avenue would be a good spot for the tunnel. A cost estimate is still unknown. But with the chance that the town might yet be sold, Boczon wonders whether some town residents would support such an expense, reasoning: “Why put all that money into something and then move?”
Purcell did mention at the meeting that the Florida Department of Transportation could be approached for grant money. He also broached the tunnel idea at the Oct. 9 Planning and Zoning Board meeting. Another alternative would be to legalize carts crossing A1A by requiring owners to obtain Florida license tags. Construction of Manalapan’s three residential tunnels concluded in July and took place at the same time as the milling and repaving of State Road A1A through the town.
The Town Council on Oct. 23 also made the following decisions:
• Approved naming Town Alderman Kathy Bray town clerk pro tem, replacing Nancy Boczon. Also accepted the resignation of Deputy Clerk Janice M. Moore, who is going to work in Highland Beach.
• Gave preliminary approval to the Housing Element and Traffic Circulation Element chapters of the Planning and Zoning Evaluation and Appraisal Report. The two sections will be sent to the Florida Department of Community Affairs, which will review the entire report and offer comments before returning it to the Town Council for a second vote. The report is part of an update to the town’s 1989 comprehensive plan.