By Steve Plunkett
State transportation officials planned to open two more ramps on Interstate 95’s new interchange at Spanish River Boulevard.
The Florida Department of Transportation scheduled a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the interchange on Feb. 28 — Day 1,676 on the construction calendar. Opening that day were the I-95 southbound exit ramp to Spanish River Boulevard (Exit 48A) and the I-95 northbound entrance ramp from Spanish River Boulevard.
Still under construction are new ramps from eastbound Yamato Road to Spanish River Boulevard and north from Spanish River to Yamato Road.
“Please note that this is an expedited ramp opening schedule; there is still contract work left to be done on this project, and contract time currently runs through March,” project spokeswoman Andi Pacini said.
The state DOT and contractor Astaldi Construction Corp. invited dignitaries from the county Transportation Planning Agency, Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach State College and Boca Raton Airport to the ceremony.
Mayor Susan Haynie, who also chairs the governing board of the Transportation Planning Agency, was looking forward to the grand opening of the interchange. The Spanish River connection is Boca Raton’s fifth entrance/exit on I-95.
“Even though it’s only half-open, it’s already diverting traffic,” Haynie said.
Pacini said “fantastic weather” combined with the contractor’s moving resources from “previously critical areas” enabled Astaldi to compress the construction schedule.
The existing northbound and southbound I-95 lanes from the Yamato Road Bridge to slightly south of Spanish River Boulevard will be repaved with a single layer “to ensure that the lanes that were shifted to build the bridges over I-95 are clearly marked with new pavement and new striping,” Pacini said.
Construction crews started work on the interchange in January 2014.
The $69 million project meant widening Spanish River Boulevard west of FAU Boulevard and constructing 13 bridges between Spanish River Boulevard and Yamato Road.
It also included signalized intersection improvements and the addition of auxiliary lanes on Yamato Road, and sound wall construction along Yamato Road and on the east side of I-95 north of Yamato Road.