Forest Hill Blvd. drainage improvements that have been hampering traffic through Wellington over the past several months are expected to be done by Dec. 6, in time for the annual Wellington Holiday Parade on Dec. 11.
The project’s completion, going on north of the Wellington Municipal Complex, has caused detours while the road was raised 2 feet and a larger culvert was installed at the C-13 Canal.
The $1.26 million project resulted from flooding that occurred for several days after Tropical Storm Isaac in 2012, which also flooded several other roads in the village, including Pierson Road and South Shore Blvd., which have had similar improvement projects done.
“South Shore was under water for several days,” Village Manager Paul Schofield told the Town-Crier on Wednesday. “Isaac hit on a Monday, and we had additional rainfall on Tuesday, but we didn’t have South Shore dried out until early that following Friday morning.”
Raising Forest Hill Blvd. and replacing the culvert will significantly reduce the chances of it flooding again, he said.
“It’s a much bigger culvert,” Schofield said. “It was one of those flood control projects, and one of the problems that we had, with the extensive damage that we had to the village from Tropical Storm Isaac. FEMA told us that because we didn’t close the road, we weren’t eligible for federal assistance. We decided that if the feds said letting people get back and forth to their homes is now non-covered damage, we’ll just raise the road so we don’t have this problem again.”
A significant part of the cost was replacing the culvert.
“In order to put in that really big culvert, we had to pull the road up anyway, and really, what you’re talking about is just a little bit of extra fill,” Schofield explained. “Raising it wasn’t a significant part of the cost. The biggest part of the cost was pulling the road out and putting the culvert in, then coming back in and repaving it.”
The road is currently being paved, and he expected it to be done before the end of the week.
“They are going to start removing all the material that is stored out there, and they’re going to put some temporary striping on it,” Schofield said. “We can’t put the permanent striping on it because the asphalt has to cure. About two months later, we’ll come back in and put the permanent striping on it.”
The village has made extensive efforts during the detours to minimize traffic snarls, including changing the timing of the traffic light at Wellington Trace to allow longer vehicle flow on Forest Hill Blvd. while lanes were closed.
Schofield, who drives the road to and from work, said he has not found it all that bad.
“Generally speaking, you’re talking one more light cycle at Wellington Trace and Forest Hill,” he said.
Other projects to improve drainage include canal widening and installing variable speed pumps.
“We’ve done some canal widening projects, we’ve also modified our pump stations because when they were put in, they were designed as single-speed pumps so they were either on or off,” he said. “We’ve modified them now so that we can vary the rate of flow.”
Two projects are included in the coming year’s budget. Turn lanes, road raising and traffic engineering are budgeted at $1 million for Big Blue Trace at Barberry Drive, Big Blue Trace at Wiltshire Village Drive, and an extended turn lane at Pierson Road and South Shore Blvd.
Replacing culverts under Forest Hill Blvd. just west of the Mall at Wellington Green is also planned, although not currently funded.
“Those are smaller culverts at some point we have to replace, but we’re not going to be doing that now; that’s a year or two down the road,” Schofield said. “We’d like to get the people a year or so of Forest Hill Blvd. open before we work on it someplace else.”
Forget giving people a year or two of an open Forest Hill Blvd. Replace the small culvert west of the Mall at Wellington Green.
We all know the unpredictability of weather in South Florida. We could very well get another tropical storm dumping rain on us again. We do not want more flooding. Just do it.
Wellington Trace at Forest Hill Blvd. by the old Wellington Mall is in terrible, terrible shape and Birkdale Drive is not far behind.
Start coming up with a solution for Ousely Farm Road at Greenbriar Blvd in the Equestrian Preserve. That needs to be improved. The line of sight at that intersection is Not good.
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