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Southwest Ranches' ongoing feud with neighboring Pembroke Pines is once again heating up as town officials say they're moving forward next week with plans to erect metal barriers at streets with a shared border.
Doug McKay, vice mayor of Southwest Ranches, says the three gates are being put up to stop cut-through traffic from a commercial area in Pines that has long plagued the Broward town.
McKay said there have been a variety of issues with the cut-through traffic, including large trucks taking down wires across the roads, not to mention complaints from residents.
"It's not that we don't like Pembroke Pines, it’s just the additional cut-through traffic," McKay told NBC 6 Friday. "The traffic just keeps coming."
The gates will be installed at Southwest 199th, 202nd and 205th Avenues and will remain permanently closed for regular traffic. Emergency vehicles will be able to access the roads with specially coded clickers that open and close them, McKay said.
"The SW Ranches Town Council has wanted to barricade their roads for years, preferring to live isolated from neighboring communities. We in Pembroke Pines have tried to find commonalities that would keep all of our residents together as we have lived for decades, however it takes two towns to make that happen. Not just one," Pembroke Pines Commissioner Angelo Castillo said in a statement.
He added that Pembroke Pines will be creating a new road that will give residents access to Griffin Road within their city limits.
"It's unfortunate that this has become necessary, however in the spirit of good fences making good neighbors, we embrace this challenge and look toward the future with great hope," Castillo said. "To be sure, the Town's decision to install gates on their public roads was long expected and has taken no one by surprise."
The feud dates back to 2005, when Southwest Ranches erected barricades at the exact same locations where they're being put up now. The town later agreed to remove them until late last year, when the Southwest Ranches city council voted to block the roads once again as the towns battled over the proposed federal immigration detention center.
Pembroke Pines eventually won the battle against the detention center, but McKay insists the barricades aren't retaliation.
"They think we're doing it out of spite and that's not the case, it's actually gonna benefit the Pines side of things too," he said. "It's not any type of tit-for-tat kind of thing."
The first gate will be installed next week and all three gates should be up and working in the next 30 days McKay said.