By Mary Hladky
The Florida Department of Transportation is preparing to embark on a $7.3 million project that will completely make over the nearly 5-mile stretch of A1A that runs through Boca Raton.
The project is still four years off, starting in the fall of 2027, but planning is well underway.
FDOT District 4 officials outlined the project during a Nov. 15 in-person and virtual public meeting in the city’s Downtown Library and took questions from the audience.
A major component of the project is adding 6-foot buffered bike lanes on both sides of the road. The city’s avid bikers have long pressed for robust lanes to improve safety.
The work, which will take one year to complete, will be done between Southeast 31st Street, the city’s southern limit, to south of Grand Court in Highland Beach.
It includes milling and resurfacing the travel lanes, shoulders and an asphalt shared-use path.
Travel lanes will be reduced from 12 feet to 11 feet to accommodate the wider bike lanes.
A new sidewalk will be built along the east side of A1A between Southeast 31st Street and Camino Real.
New lighting will be installed at the Camino Real and Spanish River Boulevard intersections so drivers can better see pedestrians and cyclists.
Pedestrian curb ramps will be upgraded to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Drainage improvements will be made in front of the Marbella Condominium, located immediately south of East Palmetto Park Road, to eliminate localized flooding on both sides of A1A.
A similar project on Highland Beach’s 3.3 miles of A1A will start next spring and end in summer 2025. That work will overlap a project in Delray Beach on 1.6 miles from Linton Boulevard to Atlantic Avenue starting in fall of 2024 and continuing to winter 2025.
Attendees at the Boca Raton meeting were told that work will be done in phases so that not all of the road will be torn up at once.
Residents will not lose access to their properties at any time, no detours will be required and no work will be done on Sundays.
One meeting attendee said he would prefer that a barrier be used to separate the bike lanes from vehicle traffic, rather than FDOT’s plan to use white lines as a separation.
Another said he had the impression that the agency’s plans were final, and no design changes would be made as a result of audience comments.
Henry Oaikhena, FDOT District 4 project manager, said that was not the case.
“We can go back and make the design better,” he said. “We will be doing that.”