By Steve Plunkett
Travelers along State Road A1A will be able to glimpse the ocean at four “view corridors” after sea grapes bordering the highway are trimmed this month.
The city approved a low bid of $400,000 from Florida Native Nurseries Inc. of Plant City. The contractor will remove sea grape and other exotic vegetation within 20 feet of A1A.
Workers will then trim a 40-foot-deep strip of sea grape down to 4 feet above the road elevation and remove other exotics.
Three corridors, opposite Spanish River Park’s tunnels to the Atlantic, will be 400 feet wide. The fourth corridor, 200 feet wide, is north of Spanish River Boulevard.
Assistant City Manager Mike Woika said work will begin the first or second week of February. The contractor’s heavy equipment must be off the beach by March 1, the start of sea turtle nesting season. Florida Native Nurseries will replace exotics it removes with native plants over seven or eight months, he said.
The state Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at first objected to Boca Raton’s plans, citing possible adverse effects to turtle nesting, but relented after the city pushed for approval.
Mayor Susan Whelchel and Deputy Mayor Susan Haynie groused that Delray Beach was allowed to trim all its coastal sea grapes.
“Now it’s gone to the next level because of results from Delray Beach’s projects,” city senior financial analyst Jennifer Bistyga told them at a City Council meeting last March. Ú