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Construction accident caused traffic headaches on Yamato Road in Boca Raton

FDOT also studying fixes to I95 in Boynton Beach
Posted at 5:54 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 19:06:33-04

“There were a few cars in front of me,” explained DJ Daniel.

The Boca Raton man wondered if a train would ever pass the Tri-Rail tracks at Yamato Road.

“I was heading east,” Daniel said.

What Daniel didn’t know is construction crews working on the new Yamato and Spanish River interchange with Interstate-95 accidentally hit a power line Monday afternoon.

A spokeswoman from the Florida Department of Transportation said electricity conducted from a crane to the CSX train tracks. It left the stop arms at the Yamato Road crossing stuck in the down position.

“We were kind of waiting to see what was going on,” said Daniel.

After about 20 minutes of waiting, Daniel said drivers were so fed up they decided to take things into their own hands. Drivers started getting out of their cars and manually pushing the stop arms up, so cars could drive underneath.

A Tri-Rail spokeswoman said that is never a good idea.

“The general feeling I got was one of frustration,” said Daniel of other drivers’ reactions. 

The stop arms went up later Monday evening. But FDOT said issues with traffic signals lingered until Tuesday afternoon, backing up Yamato Road at times.

Boca Raton police and fire departments said the unexpected closures did not affect their jobs.

FDOT pointed out the issues did not cause any car crashes. The construction company is responsible for paying any costs associated with the repairs.

“It’s construction, things happen,” said Boca Raton driver Gwen Cullinane. “That’s part of life, you have to have patience.”

Drivers are running out of patience a little farther north on I-95.

“I’m in and out of Gateway Boulevard all day,” said Larry Martinez.

The Boynton Beach man gets on I-95 at Gateway Blvd every morning. He said it’s packed. He makes it a priority to get on the road before rush hour.

“Timing it is very important,” he said. “I try to make it before 7 a.m., otherwise I know what’s going to happen, you just sit there and turn something on.”

FDOT is now considering options to keep traffic flowing and reduce the number of crashes at the Gateway and Boynton Beach Boulevard interchanges. But construction won’t begin until next year at the earliest.

Back in Boca Raton, the new interchange at Yamato should be complete by next summer.