OKEECHOBEE BLVD CLOSURE FRUSTRATES DRIVERS

Publish Date: 
Monday, May 16, 2016 - 9:30am

 

Al Pefley - http://cbs12.com

 

This weekend anyone who lives, works or visits downtown West Palm Beach could have a tough time driving through there.

All Aboard Florida will be constructing new train tracks at the railroad crossing at Okeechobee Boulevard and Quadrille Boulevard for four days, resulting in detours.

Workers closed down Okeechobee Boulevard eastbound and westbound Friday night starting at 7:15 p.m.

Within minutes, a traffic jam developed on Okeechobee Boulevard heading east near City Place as drivers trying to go east realized the road was closed.

"Traffic around here is terrible. I'm from Boston and this is still pretty bad," said Anthony Coviello, a motorist stuck in traffic on Okeechobee Boulevard.

"I don't want to come back here if it's gonna be here for 4 days. I'm not gonna come here this weekend," said Ishan Gandhi, another motorist on Okeechobee Boulevard.

"It's terrible," said Veronica Zavel, another motorist who was slowed to a crawl on Okeechobee near the spot where it was closed at the FEC railroad crossing.

The road is now closed until 6 Tuesday evening to allow construction of new train tracks for the Brightline high-speed trains, being developed for All Aboard Florida. The Brightline trains are expected to start running from Miami to West Palm Beach by mid-2017.

Some business owners in downtown West Palm Beach are concerned their weekend profits could take a nosedive, and there's little they can do about it.

At Jardin Restaurant, 330 Clematis Street, it's so slow they called two employees Friday night and told them not to come in.

"This weekend is definitely gonna be quite slow and it's definitely gonna impact us negatively. I'm not too happy about it," said Casey Shea, a Jardin Restaurant employee.

Another eatery on Clematis Street says they haven't seen a decline in customers on this Friday night.

"I think we're very steady and I think it's a great outcome and I don't think there's any difference," said Marie Jacobsen, a server at The Alchemist Gastropub and Bar, 223 Clematis Street.

All Aboard Florida says they'll be working 24 hours a day on this construction at Okeechobee and Quadrille, to make sure it's done by Tuesday at 6pm.