WEST PALM BEACH — City of West Palm Beach engineers have succeeded in convincing a traffic task force to change the traffic flow around the Royal Park Bridge.
Following requests from residents, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio on May 20 sent staff to a task force meeting with instructions to convince members to change the traffic patterns coming off the bridge, also known as the middle bridge, onto southbound Flagler drive.
The task force, made up of several agencies and municipalities, had previously prohibited drivers from turning onto southbound Flagler Drive as you come off the middle bridge because the turning traffic was causing backups.
Traffic across the middle bridge has increased since the closure and reconstruction of the north bridge. Eliminating the left turn onto southbound Flagler Drive was intended to increase the flow of cars off the bridge. But the result was an increase in the number of drivers zig-zagging through nearby neighborhoods as they tried to double back to southbound on Flagler Drive.
During the task force meeting Wednesday, city engineers pushed to have the left turn onto southbound Flagler Drive restored. After reluctance by some members of the task force, the group agreed to the city’s request.
The city will also redesign how drivers head from southbound Flagler Drive onto the bridge.
Right now, motorists can not turn left onto the middle bridge from southbound Flagler Drive. The result has been drivers passing the bridge, making u-turns on Flagler Drive south of the bridge, then doubling back to the bridge.
A new detour will send southbound Flagler Drive drivers off Flagler Drive several blocks before the bridge in order to avoid the u-turn problems.
All the traffic changes are expected to be in effect within the next two weeks.