Category Archives: Trail News

Laurel Road Bridge – FDOT Update to Board of County Commissioners 12-8-15

by Steve Martin

On Tuesday December 8th the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) provided an update to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on the plan to build a Legacy Trail bridge over Laurel Road. The meeting was held at the Robert L. Anderson Administration Center in Venice, FL. Ryan Weeks, Project Manager with FDOT made the presentation.

To view the full presentation, click here to go to the county web site page, and then space down and click on Item 66.

Key Points of the Presentation and Discussion:

  • Construction is expected to begin in Fall 2016.
  • Estimated construction cost: $2M to $2.8M depending on bids.
  • The Trail will remain open and connected during construction using detours around the construction zone.
  • New design and renderings of the bridge look much better than ones in the original concept. 
  • The new renderings do not show landscaping so that just the bridge appearance could be evaluated.  Commissioners expressed the thought that landscaping would help the appearance and would make the bridge look more like the Chain of Lakes bridge that was originally presented as an example that was favorably received.
  • The bridge will be similar to the Chain of Lakes bridge but not exactly the same.  The Chain of Lakes bridge uses traditional pile and beam construction, whereas the new bridge will use a relatively new construction technique call the  Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil-Integrated Bridge System (GRS-IBS).  Use of the new technique allows considerable cost savings.
  • There was concern that walkers and bicyclists might choose to not use the bridge and instead cross at street level below the bridge.  To discourage this there will be curbs along the road instead of a smooth transition.  Commissioners strongly recommended that railing also be built to discourage crossing at street level.
  • A new cross walk will be constructed at the Mission Valley light on Laurel Road.  This will provide a route across Laurel Road for people who are unable to cross using the bridge.

A comparison of the Chain of Lakes bridge and the most recent rendering of the proposed  bridge are shown below:

Rendering of Proposed Bridge over Laurel Road
Rendering of Proposed Bridge over Laurel Road
Chain of Lakes Bridge
Chain of Lakes Bridge


[   See: Updated Renderings for Laurel Road Overpass    ]

The proposed bridge on Laurel Road will use the  Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil-Integrated Bridge System (GRS-IBS).  This is a relatively new construction technique that should save considerable money over older techniques.  The following video gives a good description of the technical details of this system.


House at Osprey Junction Trailhead

Have you ever seen this house and wondered about it?   It sits just off The Legacy Trail at Bay Street (map).  Wouldn’t it be a great place for a rest area for everyone using The Legacy Trail?   The house is located on the SW corner of the 10 acre property that was purchased by the County in 2008 and officially opened as Osprey Junction Trailhead (OJT) in 2013.  It has been used by the county as a storage site for the parks department.

Recently, Chuck Butterfield the FLT President approached the County Parks Department and was given a green light to work on a proposed plan to remodel that house into a Visitor Center.  A brain storming session yielded ideas for the Visitor Center which included a snack bar, gift shop, volunteer staffing for information and handouts, screened porch rest area, public meeting/party rooms, bike rental/repair shop, bike safety education classes/bike rodeos, Ambassador Patrol and Surrey Bike Ride Headquarters and Park Staff office.

Jerry Droll, David Zimmerman and Mark Malkasian have volunteered to work on the Project Team. The first phase is developing a proposed plan to remodel the house at Osprey Junction Trailhead into a Visitor Center. The plan will then be presented to Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources for review and approval. Architects are being solicited and preliminary design plans are being discussed. If you have an interest in working on this project please contact Chuck Butterfield:

OJT Visitor Center Project

Updated Renderings for Laurel Road Overpass


The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has provided the county with these updated design concept renderings.  The new design includes a color change from the previous version and incorporates proposed signage which was developed with input from FLT and the community.

This information was provided to us by Patrick Lui, Sarasota County Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Coordinator