The cut-through to Loxahatchee Groves at the southern end of 140th Avenue North will be shut down starting on Oct. 7 with intermittent closures for the installation of gate structures, according to an announcement from the Indian Trail Improvement District.
Installation of the gate is to stop the increasing amount of traffic that has been using the unpermitted cut-through, which was once on the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency’s thoroughfare map but was removed years ago.
There will also be closures at 40th Street North and 43rd Road North as gates are installed there.
ITID has been in discussions with the Town of Loxahatchee Groves to close access from 40th Street North onto 140th Avenue North and 43rd Road North onto 140th Avenue North.
“The bottom line is it’s an unpermitted connection. It was never meant to be a road,” ITID President Betty Argue said. “It’s a maintenance easement.”
She added that the connection was removed from the county thoroughfare map years ago at the mutual agreement of ITID and the Loxahatchee Groves Landowners’ Association before the town incorporated.
“There was someone who ended up in the canal just two weeks ago,” Argue said. “There is a ton of traffic that is cutting through there — large trucks, dump trucks, construction vehicles, service vehicles. We’re not just talking about a couple of cars a day cutting through there, it’s nonstop.”
Loxahatchee Groves Operations & Maintenance Director Larry Peters said the town has been keeping the road passable only as a canal maintenance easement, and the town is working on keeping access open for some residents on 43rd Road North and 145th Avenue North.
“We’re working to solve that issue,” Peters said. “There’s some circumstances there we’re trying to work out.”
Former Loxahatchee Groves Councilman Dr. Bill Louda, now a member of the town’s Recreational, Equestrian, Trails & Greenways Committee, who lives on E Road south of Okeechobee Blvd., which would have connected to 140th Avenue North, and petitioned successfully two decades ago to get the cut-through off the county’s thoroughfare map as an arterial road, said he’s all for the closure.
“Go for it,” Louda said. “I hope they do it. With Westlake, we’ve got to watch E Road and 140th really close.”
ITID advises users of these roads to prepare to take alternative routes to avoid delays, and alert any delivery companies, contractors and/or visitors to take alternative routes. No unauthorized access will be allowed while construction personnel are on the sites.
The 40th Street North gate closure will take effect tentatively on Monday, Oct. 19 at 7 a.m. and the 43rd Road North gate closure will take effect on Monday, Nov. 2 at 7 a.m.
After the permanent closure of 40th Street North, equestrians, pedestrians and bicyclists will still be able to access the cut-through to reach the Royal Palm Beach preserve. Motorized vehicles including golf carts, ATVs and side-by-sides will be unable to pass through either of these closures.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue vehicles and other government agencies will still have access through the gates for emergency and authorized uses.