I-95 FAU Exit
I-95 FAU Exit
By Chuck McGinness, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 6, 2004
The $14 million included in the U.S. House transportation bill for a new Interstate 95 interchange near Florida Atlantic University is not enough to roll out the bulldozers and construction crews, but it would put the project in a favorable position to win state aid.
FAU and Boca Raton officials are pushing for an I-95 interchange at Spanish River Boulevard to help ease congestion on Glades Road. On an average day, about 73,000 cars travel Glades Road at I-95, including thousands of commuters headed to work and classes at FAU. That's about 50 percent above the road's capacity.
"Until now, we didn't have any real construction dollars," Boca Raton Councilwoman Susan Haynie said Monday. "This is a big step forward."
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The $275 billion House proposal approved Friday contains millions for other Palm Beach County projects, including $29 million for Tri-Rail and $3 million to narrow Federal Highway in Delray Beach. But the money is not a sure thing just yet.
The House bill is considerably less than the Senate's $318 billion version passed in February. A conference committee will resolve what to do with nearly 3,200 projects, costing $9.6 billion, that are in the House proposal but not the Senate's. President Bush has threatened to veto any legislation that exceeds his $256 billion plan.
Delray Beach officials originally estimated it would cost about $13.5 million to reduce Federal Highway to four lanes between Linton and George Bush boulevards. But that could change, Mayor Jeff Perlman said.
The city's Community Redevelopment Agency is working with an engineering firm to redesign Federal, with plenty of input from the public, Perlman said. Still, the $3 million will help when the project is ready to begin, he said.
"We'll see what happens. Right now, I'm cautiously optimistic," Perlman said. "If it does make it through the Senate and the president's veto pen, we'll know what parameters we can work in."
The federal money will allow the proposed I-95 interchange to move into the state's five-year work program, boosting the possibility that the estimated $61.5 million project can be completed in five to 10 years, Haynie said.
The state has set aside $1 million to study different interchange designs and how to lessen environmental damage. Another study will be done to justify the need for an exit between Glades and Yamato roads. About 180,000 cars a day use this stretch of I-95.
"Hopefully, we can get it constructed before FAU constructs its football stadium," Haynie said.
Maybe we can get Prez Brogan to invite Jeb Bush to lunch on a Saturday afternoon in Boca at the Cheesecake Factory near this interchange. I'm certain that he'll make a call to big bro for sure after that one.. ;)