By: Jen Russon
Since improvements began three years ago, residents and local businesses along Wiles Road have waited out the road construction that will better accommodate the projected daily volume of 39,633 motorists traveling along its path.
County Commissioner Michael Udine said that considering the enormous breadth of the project, inconveniences posed to those who live and work in the area are what you might expect to get significant improvements in return.
“It will clearly be a major improvement to the public when the project is complete,” he said.
In 2016, Phase 1, from Rock Island Road to SR 7, began and is set to be completed this month. In 2017, Phase 2, from Riverside Drive to Rock Island Road, is currently being constructed by Russell Engineering, Inc. and is estimated to be completed by March 2020. Phase 3, from University Drive to Riverside Drive, is now in the final stages of design and should be under construction in the summer of 2020.
For the Prize family in Coral Springs, the ongoing construction has been a costly and aggravating affair.
“My dad got a ticket trying to go around those cones for $160, and when all that construction started further east, I got two flat tires,” said Keren Prize Bolter, a Coral Springs resident who treks down the road to deliver her sons to Imagine Charter School.
“It really does mess with our business,” said Kaylin Zymet, a college student who scoops ice cream and other treats for Cherry Smash. “Four or five weeks ago, the workers out there punctured a pipe, and we didn’t have any water.”
Zymet said she hopes to see an end to detours and closures that had been planned as far back as five years ago.
Funded by a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, Wiles Road acquired widened from four to six lanes, three 11-foot lanes, and five-foot bike lanes on both sides.
The stretch between Northwest 40th Street and Wiles Road has been reconstructed and resurfaced.
The existing signals were replaced, along with new mast arms.
Richard Tornese, director of engineering for the county, said improvements include drainage and signalization upgrades, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, lighting, and new landscaping.
He said Broward qualified for a county incentive grant program which funds 50 percent of the improvement costs, and that this includes design and construction. He added Russell Engineering experienced some unforeseen utility conflicts and weather delays that impacted the project schedule – making it seem as though it has gone on too long.
The county commissioner’s office provided the update that, by spring, intermittent lane closures from Riverside to Rock Island Road may still be necessary to complete minor items; however, there should be at least two lanes open in each direction at all times to reduce impacts to the traveling public.
- Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.
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