Nearly decade-old plan to build new interchange on I-95 in Boca gets FDOT approval
By Dale M. King
BOCA RATON – The plan for a new interchange on Interstate 95 in Boca Raton was first proposed in a meeting room at Florida Atlantic University in 2002 during a news conference attended by then-State Rep. Bill Andrews, then-FAU President Anthony Catanese and the-Boca Raton Mayor Steven Abrams.
Andrew drafted the concept, and, over the years, many proposed locations and configurations for an interchange have been put together.
Nearly 10 years later, Abrams, now Palm Beach County Commissioner for District 4, has made a new, but related announcement. He said a new Interstate 95 interchange located on Spanish River Boulevard at the rear of FAU in Boca Raton has been officially adopted as a future development project by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
Abrams, who also serves as a member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, said that based on reports issued by FDOT, numerous traffic analyses performed over the past few years “have clearly indicated this segment of I-95 does not meet the required level of standards, mainly because of the high levels of congestion.” The new interchange will provide major relief to burgeoning traffic levels.
“I have been working on this since my first days as mayor, and it has finally come to fruition,” said Abrams. “It will provide needed relief to Glades Road and Yamato Road, two of the county’s most congested interchanges,” he added.
The proposed Airport/FAU interchange will connect to Spanish River Boulevard, extending from Military Trail on the west to State Road A1A on the east. It will provide a “back-entrance” to FAU’s campus while providing the much needed relief on Glades Road, and eliminate persistent problematic residential cut-through traffic via Yamato Road, said Abrams.
One of the primary reasons for the new interchange, he said, is to serve FAU, which has a new campus Master Plan that shows explosive growth for commuter and non-commuter students. Currently, some 15,000 students attend the Boca Raton campus, of which more than 12,000 are commuters.
FAU has broken ground for a Division 1 football stadium designated to seat 30,000 people and will be used for other events, such as concerts, Abrams said. In addition, the university is in the process of constructing an Innovation Village, one that will include on-campus housing and retail shops.
In past years, many efforts have been made to relieve the glut of traffic on Glades Road. Consultants for Florida’s Turnpike have been studying possible new exits and entrances to the limited-access road. They had been eying locations north and south of Glades Road as means of turning traffic away from Glades Road before it overflowed onto that roadway.
Currently, most commuter students attending FAU enter and leave the campus via the two entrance/exits connected to Glades Road.
In addition, Glades Road relief has been the goal of a couple of road projects. Newly paved lanes, traffic lights and drain pipes have been installed.
Abrams said the proposed new interchange is part of the FDOT’s Five-Year Work Program and is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2014.