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The Legacy Trail Is Getting a New Pedestrian Overpass at Tuttle Avenue in Sarasota

If you live here, you know walking or biking can be daunting, and cars take precedence in how people get around. That’s probably part of why the pedestrian and bicycle-focused Legacy Trail has proven to be so popular—and with more than 675,000 users over the past 12 months, and it continues to grow. The 18.5-mile trail stretches from North Port to downtown Sarasota, and county plans have weighed extending it further north to Nathan Benderson Park, near University Parkway, and connecting it with other trails in the state. City of Sarasota officials are also working on connecting the Trail to the new Bobby Jones Nature Park.

And yesterday, Sarasota County Commissioners voted unanimously to move forward on another pedestrian and bicycle overpass to make the trail even safer—this one over bustling Tuttle Avenue.

Spearheaded by The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), construction began construction on a Bee Ridge Road overpass in November and on the Clark Road overpass in December, with completion expected late this year. In addition to the new Tuttle overpass, another overpass at Beneva Road has also been approved.

An analysis of Sarasota County 2013-2018 pedestrian and bicycle crash data showed that the majority of the crashes occurred within the county’s parallel north-south corridors. And a 2022 national study saw North Port, Sarasota and Bradenton ranked among the nation’s top 20 deadliest areas for pedestrians.

It’s anticipated that the addition of the overpasses will help change that.

To accommodate it, as with the others, wall ramps will be built on the approaches to each bridge, along with minor nearby roadway and trail changes. There will also be new signals at all intersections.

Funding for the $2,222,188 Tuttle overpass project will be provided through North County Impact Fees, a U.S. Housing and Urban Development Grant and donations. Yesterday’s vote approved the inclusion of the project in the county’s Capital Improvements Program and approved Local Agency Program Agreements with FDOT, allowing the state to provide $2 million for each overpass project.

Next up, staff will procure the design work.


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