By Rich Pollack
Highland Beach residents will have a chance to learn more about this summer’s $8.8 million State Road A1A resurfacing project through the town during a public meeting and open house next month hosted by the Florida Department of Transportation.
State officials will be at the Highland Beach Library on March 7, hosting a virtual meeting from 5 to 6 p.m. and an in-person meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. to preview plans for the resurfacing, restoration and rehabilitation project that is expected to last more than a year and cause major traffic disruptions.
Town Manager Marshall Labadie said that while meetings with state officials held last year focused on the design — which will include drainage improvements and a 5-foot bicycle lane on each side of the road — the upcoming meeting will focus on how the design work will be implemented.
Residents can question representatives from the FDOT, the project management team and the contractor who will provide answers on a one-on-one basis following presentations.
The state calls the sessions the State Road A1A/South Ocean Boulevard Resurfacing Project Virtual Public Meeting and In-Person Construction Open House.
“It’s highly recommended for residents to attend either the free online virtual public meeting or the in-person construction open house for this project,” said Melissa Readling, the project’s spokesperson. “This will give them a better understanding of the project details and any anticipated impacts.”
During the meetings, the presenters will provide details about the number of lanes that can be closed, along with approved detours and days of the week and hours during which lane closures will be permitted. Town leaders acknowledge that the project will be disruptive to residents and people using A1A, but say the result will be improved conditions.
“At the end of the day, A1A is going to be a better road in Highland Beach, but we’re going to have to walk over a lot of glass to get there,” Labadie said.
In addition to road resurfacing work that will lead to periodic lane closures, work will be done on swales to help with drainage along the highway. That work should not impede traffic, engineers have said.
Hoping to minimize traffic on a 3.3-mile stretch of A1A — which will be repaved in all of Highland Beach and a small section of Delray Beach — the FDOT will place signs on the west side of both the Linton Boulevard and Spanish River bridges warning motorists to expect construction-related delays. Engineers hope the signs will discourage motorists from using A1A if alternative roads are an option.
In Labadie’s monthly message to the community, he said that input is valued and asked residents to mark their calendars so concerns and suggestions can be heard.
Those who cannot attend will be able to view a recording of the virtual public meeting afterward at www.d4fdot.com.
State officials say they will soon provide information on how residents can participate in the virtual meeting.