Open house scheduled for Thursday on hiking/biking trail through UF


Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 1:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 1:52 p.m.

The Florida Department of Transportation is holding an open house from 4-6 p.m. Thursday at the Doyle Connor Auditorium, 1911 SW 34th St., to review plans for a new $2.5 million hiking and biking trail through the University of Florida campus.

State transportation officials and consultants will be on hand to discuss plans for the proposed 2-mile-plus "UF Campus Greenway," which will be built with federal "transportation alternative" funds and begin in early 2015, said Gina Busscher, spokeswoman for the DOT.

Transportation alternative funds are used for sidewalks and other improvements to encourage people to park their cars and walk or ride their bikes, Busscher said. Because so little money is available each year, applications for the money are competitive, she added.

UF applied for the grant in 2010 through the Gainesville Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization, Busscher said. New projects are scheduled five years after approval, she said.

The proposed campus trail is the third and final leg of the Archer Braid Trail, which eventually will connect the town of Archer to Haile Plantation and the city of Gainesville. The first leg, a six-mile trail from Archer to Southwest 91st Street built by state contractors, was finished in June. The second leg, a 3.5 mile section between Archer Road and Kanapaha Park, is currently under construction by the county.

The proposed trail will start just west of Southwest 34th Street and follow Hull and Mowry roads through the pony fields, over creeks and wetlands to South Newell Drive, where it will become sidewalks and marked bike trails to Archer Road, according to an FDOT news release.

The trail will be made of concrete and asphalt, and it will include a wooden boardwalk and a pedestrian bridge, Busscher said. "We are still working on the design," she said, and DOT will use public input to help put the finishing touches on the plans.

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