Veranda Gardens developer scales back Becker Road expansion

A Jacksonville developer plans to start construction this month on the $3.5 million expansion of a failing section of Becker Road in southeastern Port St. Lucie.

But GreenPointe Communities LLC wants to scrap a requirement to widen Becker Road to four lanes all the way to Gilson Road, which links Port St. Lucie to Palm City and the rest of Martin County.

Instead, GreenPointe proposes road design techniques, including a four-lane traffic circle, to enhance the flow of vehicles on a 1.3-mile stretch of Becker Road between Veranda Gardens Drive and Gilson Road.

“The goal and vision for Becker Road from day one for GreenPointe has been how to make this a truly memorable and impressive road corridor that meets the needs not only of Veranda but of the city,” said Steve Garrett, the developer’s planning consultant.

GreenPointe is in the midst of developing 3,230 residences in the Veranda Gardens, Veranda Preserve and Veranda Oaks subdivisions on a two-mile stretch of Becker Road between Via Tesoro and Gilson Road.

The Veranda development plan requires GreenPointe to widen Becker Road to four lanes once traffic on the road failed to meet city congestion standards, city records show. That happened in 2018.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve GreenPointe’s plans to widen Becker Road to four lanes between Via Tesoro and Veranda Gardens Boulevard.

The project consists of a four-lane divided roadway with a 24-foot-wide median, lighting, landscaping, an 8-foot-wide sidewalk on the south side and a 6-foot-wide sidewalk on the north side.

“The plans have already been bid out,” Garrett told the council. “They are ready to get underway and begin construction. We’re anticipating construction will last from August until March of 2020 for that section.”

But several council members warned GreenPointe’s representatives they were skeptical about allowing Becker Road to remain two lanes between Veranda Gardens Boulevard and Gilson Road.

“You don’t have any concerns about bringing this road from four lanes to two lanes and creating a choke point there?” Councilman John Carvelli asked the developer’s representatives. “Well, I do. Because that’s a heavily traveled road and it’s a long road too. People tend to speed when they’re going south into Martin County.”

But Garrett said he’s not concerned about that. “The addition of more lanes isn’t necessarily the right solution for this,” Garrett said.

Stef Mathes, an engineer working on the project, said traffic studies show the proposed improvements will enable Becker Road to comply with city congestion standards. “This is a very unique roadway,” Mathes said. “There are very few access points along there.”

Leave a Comment