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:
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.