NOKOMIS, FL (WWSB) - A new pedestrian bridge is now visible on Laurel Road in Nokomis, but not quite ready for use.
Thursday night, the Florida Department of Transportation installed the bridge beams of the overpass, closing Laurel Road at Bay Street to traffic overnight.
The pedestrian bridge will soon be a part of the 12.5 mile long Legacy Trail.
Construction started in November, but now FDOT said it's at the point where crews are placing the bridge beams and will soon pour the bridge deck.
"That will be so freakin' cool," said James Kim, who rides his bike on the Legacy Trail with his friends up to four times a week.
He's super excited at the possibility of the trail extending from Venice to Downtown Sarasota.
"I want that really badly, please do that," Kim said.
But the decision is up to him and all voters in Sarasota County. In March, the County Commission approved a referendum that will now go on the November ballot.
If approved, the county will use $60 million in bonds that would be repaid with property taxes to extend the trail about nine miles north to Payne Park.
Currently, the trail runs from the historic Train Depot in Venice to Culverhouse Nature Park in South Sarasota.
The newest addition is the $2 million pedestrian bridge in Nokomis that FDOT expects to finish by Fall.
"It's going to be cool, but as is right now it's really annoying," Kim said. "The detour just got worse, you used to be able to cut around that way, but now it's even longer this way."
The good thing is, the construction isn't affecting nearby business. Staff said they don't anticipate this new bridge having too much of an affect on sales, but they did add that they will miss the traffic light that stopped the cars long enough for them to notice the business.
But in exchange, the bridge's purpose will be achieved, improving pedestrian and bicycle safety by eliminating the crossing on Laurel Road.
"I'm excited about not having to worry about cars," said Sara Roush, who visits the area from Ohio with her husband annually. "I'm always anxious crossing the street, not knowing what cars are going to do."
FDOT said there will be more nighttime closures necessary in the near future.
When this bridge is complete in the late summer or early fall, it will be 90 feet in length with a 12 foot wide multi-use pedestrian walkway.
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