By Jane Smith
The second phase of the beach master plan is underway in Delray Beach.
The $3.7 million project includes the design work; nautical fencing to protect the dunes; promenade lighting; roadway improvements at Gleason Street, Venetian Drive and A1A intersections with Atlantic Avenue; six renovated pedestrian crosswalks along A1A; and construction monitoring.
“We visited every business from the FEC railroad tracks to the beach to tell them about the work,” said Aaron Cutler, vice president at Baxter & Woodman, hired to oversee the project.
Cutler apparently did such a great job that only four people came to the city’s presentation July 31. They were a former mayor, the head of the Beach Property Owners Association, a jewelry store representative and the Downtown Development Authority executive director.
The work was supposed to start Aug. 12 at the Venetian intersection, but heavy rains delayed the onset by one week.
The Florida Department of Transportation owns Atlantic Avenue on the barrier island and won’t allow pavers in the roadway because they shift over time, said Isaac Kovner, city project manager. The pavers were removed, along with the lime rock underneath them. The lime rock was replaced, and a thin coating of asphalt was applied to allow traffic to pass.
This month, work crews plan to mill the street surface at the Venetian and Gleason intersections, then put down a 1.5-inch layer of asphalt. The asphalt has to cure for 30 days, Cutler said, before the crosswalk area will be painted brick red.
Then, white Thermoseal striping will be added to the crosswalk.
The area between the east and west crosswalks of the Venetian and Gleason intersections will be stamped in a herringbone-brick pattern to look like pavers.
Late last year, work on the Venetian and Gleason intersections was started, but it was paused to allow the work to be done in the off-season, said Gina Carter, city spokeswoman. The previous contractor was paid $118,143.
“Weather is the only thing that can hold up this project,” said Michael Boss, president of MBR Construction of Fort Lauderdale, the current contractor. He predicted most of the project would be finished by Nov. 19.
Along the beach, pedestrian-height lighting that is amber-colored and shielded from the beach side will be added to the promenade, starting at Harbor Drive to Casuarina Road.
The lights will be on timers and most will go off at 10 p.m., according to Missie Barletto, deputy director of Public Works. The central part of the promenade, close to Atlantic Avenue, will be lit until 2 a.m.
Solar-powered bollards near the main pavilion at Atlantic will not be on timers, she said.
Florida Power & Light has seven red-hued LED lights to replace the white LED lights nearest Atlantic Avenue, on the west side of A1A, according to Nina Frick, an FPL spokeswoman. The city will be charged for the change.
Last year, FPL decided it wanted only its own lights on the light poles and gave the city two choices: white LED or red-hued LED lights.
The white lights can be lit from Nov. 1 through the end of February annually and then go dark from March 1 through Oct. 31 for the sea turtle nesting season. The red-hued ones are considered turtle-friendly and can stay lit throughout the year.
The city chose the white lights, which were installed in January.
Meanwhile, FPL has been working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to gain approval for amber LED lights. The lights were approved by the state but failed one of FPL’s field-worthiness tests, Barletto wrote in an email in early August.
“The light was sent back to the manufacturer to look at the issue that caused it to fail and I understand that they are doing additional testing now,” Barletto wrote. “If they get an approved light, then we can again approach the commission to consider replacing the white lights along A1A with the new, approved, amber lights. There will be a cost associated with that decision for the city.”
Delray Beach residents and business owners can call a special hotline number (833-335-7292) to ask about the second phase of the beach master plan. Another option is to look for updates on Twitter (@beachmasterplan) or Facebook (Beach Master Plan Phase 2).