Safely Bridging the Gap
New Project Links City/County Trails
June 20, 2013
Tallahassee has been nicknamed trail-ahassee by some citizens for the vast trail network located throughout the community. To literally bridge a gap in the network and safely connect the City's Lafayette Heritage Trail Park and Leon County's J.R. Alford Greenway, the City of Tallahassee has started work on a pedestrian bridge over the CSX railroad tracks.
The project will provide a safe, vital link in the Tallahassee Greenway and Trail System while preserving trees, creating scenic vistas and building a structure in harmony with a natural setting.
"From cyclists to pedestrians, Tallahasseeans use trails to help traverse town, exercise and connect with the great outdoors," said Susan Tanski, senior planner for the City's Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Affairs Department. "This new canopy walkway will allow everyone to safely and legally cross the railroad tracks."
During construction, trails leading from the East Dam on Piney Z to the J.R. Alford Greenway will be closed. Users may access the Greenway by taking Pedrick Road to the main Greenway entrance. From the other side, users may access Lafayette Heritage Trail Park by taking Conner Blvd. to Heritage Trail Park Blvd. and entering the park's main entrance.
Trails are not officially designated across the CSX tracks, nor has CSX granted permission for the currently unapproved "at grade" crossing. Users, however, frequently cross the tracks. The existing railroad crossing is void of safety facilities and sight distance along the track is limited. Eight or more trains pass through the park at a high rate of speed each day.
The contractor for the project is Nature Bridges, JD James Inc., a Tallahassee-based company that specializes in top down timber construction and building in sensitive environments. The current design for the 133-foot bridge includes a prefabricated box truss bridge of weathering steel with a metal roof and wooden boardwalk.
Approved by the City Commission in 2007, the total project cost is approximately $1.3 million. A portion of the project was funded by a $250,000 federal recreational trails grant. Blueprint 2000 is contributing $500,000, and the remainder is being funded by the City through its share of the sales tax extension dollars. The project is scheduled to be completed by spring 2014.
"Once completed, this bridge will become a landmark attraction for our community," said Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Miller. "Our trails draw people from around the region. Enhancing our natural amenities is sensitive work, as it requires finding a delicate balance. We want to be able to bring people to these natural places without detracting from the beauty and serenity that draws them there in the first place."
For more information, please visit Talgov.com or call Susan Tanski, Senior Park Planner, at 933-0345. You can also stay up-to-date on the latest park news by liking the department on Facebook and following @COTParks on Twitter.
Susan Tanski, Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs, 933-0345; or Lizzy Kelley, Communications Department, 891-8533