NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. — Two bridges in North Palm Beach are expected to undergo major renovations in the coming years.
The Village said it's part of their master plan to make the area more pedestrian friendly.
One of the bridges, along U.S. 1 and Northlake Blvd., had its sidewalks collapse in Oct. 2017.
Since then, the Village has worked with FDOT to expedite the proposed project that includes walkways under the bridge, more lighting, and an extended plaza area with a vertical element.
"It’s part of the U.S.1 corridor," said Village Manager Andy Lukasik. "We are redefining our codes, we are encouraging economic development on the corridor and changing the uses."
Currently, the bridges have sidewalks for pedestrians right next to the lanes for traffic. The goal is to prevent accidents and people illegally crossing U.S. 1, and instead have them cross underneath bridges and next to the water.
However, critics worry the proposed changes will affect boat traffic in an already tight area and encourage homeless people to congregate.
"In my experience with other similar projects and pedestrian connections underneath bridges, with the right design and with the right maintenance you can minimize any impacts," said Lukasik.
Some of the design options include shaded areas above the bridges. The Village said it also plans to work with engineers to consider increasing the bridge height to allow for large boats.
Again, the changes being discussed are only for the two bridges along U.S. 1 and Prosperity Farms Rd. Any updates or changes to the Lighthouse Bridge are still several years away.
If you want to weigh in on the project, you are encouraged to attend a public workshop Thursday, Sept. 26 at the North Palm Beach Library. The event is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
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