US 1 Improvements
US 1 “Complete Streets”
Grr! What is with the orange barrels on US 1 and why now when “season” is in full swing?!
Those are questions I am asked a lot! I’ve prepared this update and FAQs with answers. Please share with friends and neighbors.
What’s the reason for the roadwork?
As part of the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) statewide road maintenance schedule, the 1.5-mile section of US 1 in the Village of Tequesta was slated to be resurfaced in 2016. Prior to the start of the maintenance project, an opportunity to significantly improve the safety and ambience on the Village’s “main street” presented itself.
What are “Complete Streets?”
The “Complete Streets” program is a national initiative that configures roadways to allow equally safe passage for motorized vehicles, bicycle riders and pedestrians.
How did “Complete Streets” concept come to Tequesta?
FDOT’s “Complete Streets” program was introduced to the Village in 2014 by the Florida Secretary of Transportation. Over several years, many steps were taken to understand the concept and its feasibility. The vetting process was headed up by the local regional transportation planning council and included a citizen’s host committee, numerous public meetings, interactive workshops, FDOT transportation analyses, and engineering and architectural reviews. In addition, suggestions from business owners and residents were incorporated into the project’s scope of work.
Why a “Complete Streets” project in Tequesta?
The 1.5 mile stretch of highway in the Village is the only section of US 1 in nearly 26 miles that has six lanes (three lanes in each direction) used for vehicular traffic. From Port Salerno south to North Palm Beach, US 1 has four lanes for motorized vehicles and most sections include a small area of road reserved for bicycle riders, or a multi-use path that allows shared access for pedestrians and cyclists.
How will “Complete Streets” change US 1 in the Village?
Currently, the six lanes on US 1 in Tequesta are available only to motorized vehicles. The “Complete Streets” project reduces the six vehicular lanes to four, reserves the remaining two lanes for bicycle riders, and widens sidewalks for pedestrians.
What are the benefits to residents?
In addition to allowing safe passage for all who choose to walk, run and bicycle along the roadway, this configuration has been shown to have a calming effect on vehicular traffic. By design, US 1 in the Village of Tequesta will no longer be a 1.5 mile stretch of road to fan out into three lanes and speed through.
What is the impact on the current road?
The width between the existing curb and median will NOT be narrowed, nor will there be new curbs or other hard dividers to separate the bicycle lanes from those used by motorized vehicles. The size of the inside lanes allows for “buffered” bicycle lanes, meaning the section of lane used by bicycle riders will be set back from vehicular traffic by nearly four feet. This configuration also allows for widened sidewalks that will be over twelve feet away from motorized vehicles. The separation of lanes is accomplished using paint, striping and reflectors only. Legal U-turns can be accommodated using the same width of roadway that existed before the construction began.
What safety improvements will be included?
The project includes wider sidewalks, improved drainage, a mast arm traffic signal with LED lighting, camera-driven traffic signal sequencing, a high-visibility patterned pavement crosswalk, countdown pedestrian timers and decorative pedestrian-scale lighting. None of these improvements would have been included in FDOT’s scope of work if the roadway was simply repaved.
What is the cost and who pays for “Complete Streets?”
The $2.5 million “Complete Streets” project was funded through a combination of FDOT maintenance funds and a federal Transportation Alternative Grant. Apart from the cost of two turn lanes requested by the Village, no Tequesta residents’ tax dollars are being spent on the project.
The roadwork was initially scheduled to begin in July 2017. Unfortunately, other FDOT projects were still in progress. The project kicked off in November 2017 with the placement of orange barrels. FDOT indicated it would take approximately one year from start to finish. Because of the duration of the project, a portion of the work would be performed during “season.
What are we doing to help our business community during construction?
Tequesta businesses are the lifeblood of our community and road construction can be challenging. The “Tastes of Tequesta Tour” was launched last year and will soon be joined by the “Treasures of Tequesta Tour” as a means to keep the spotlight on the numerous restaurant and retail establishments in our Village. Your continued patronage of these businesses is vitally important as the roadwork continues.
What happens when the US 1 Bridge construction begins?
When construction on the US 1 drawbridge begins (tentatively to start in 2021), the same configuration of four motorized vehicle lanes, two bicycle lanes and wide pedestrian walkways are being proposed. Our section of US 1 will merge seamlessly with that of the new bridge.
When can we expect traffic to ease up?
It has been 20 years since FDOT last paved our section of US 1, so we are not in the habit of dealing with construction! As with any major roadwork, delays and backups are common. The orange barrels, restricted turning radius and unsynchronized traffic lights are causes for much of the traffic delays. These conditions will cease or be significantly reduced when construction ends in late fall. Of course, traffic will be heaviest at rush hour and it is a given that traffic will increase when seasonal visitors and tourists arrive.
We understand that road construction is frustrating and ask for your patience. When the project is complete, all forms of transportation will be safely accommodated, and US 1 will reflect Tequesta’s unique charm and “home-town” appeal!
Mayor Abby Brennan