At the December 21, 2020 Brooksville City Council meeting, Assistant Public Works Director and Project Manager Jon Dowler discussed the 3.5 mile biking and walking trail that actually ties together the Coast To Coast Connector, which forms a contiguous trail linking Florida’s west coast in Pinellas County to Titusville on east coast.
Dowler said that the original plan for Hernando County’s section was to construct the trail along the truck bypass instead of going through the city. “Riders that are on the path would never know, really that they’ve come through the heart of history, the courthouse or learn the other things about Main Street.”
The new trail map also benefits the city with increased business activity, tourism, and improved quality of life, improved public health, and increased property values.
With changes to the project to form the trail around the heart of Brooksville, there was the possibility of construction conflicts with existing utilities, and this proved to be so. The main utility conflict was an existing 8-inch water pipe-line that runs along the south side of West Jefferson, and is in the way of possibly, 16 trail stormwater structures along a distance of approximately 2,000 feet. These structures are part of the trail and are designed to minimize flooding, and to convey stormwater away from the trail and roadway.
Trail construction is set for late spring in 2022. In June of 2020, City Council approved Coastal Engineering to review FDOT plans of the trail for potential and real utility conflicts. Where conflicts occurred, the City was obligated to alleviate these conflicts at their own cost by adjusting the water, and or sewer lines to where they are no longer in conflict with stormwater drainage structures, gravity walls, or any other trail related features.
Cliff Manuel of Coastal Engineering explained that because Brooksville will shoulder the cost of moving utilities on right-of-ways belonging to the city, it would be appropriate to request reimbursement from the state. The potential cost to the city and subsequent reimbursement would be approximately $87,454.
In total, thirteen construction conflicts have been identified both on city and state (FDOT) right-of-ways. The total cost to relocate all of them will be approximately $347,776, with the majority of the financial responsibility on FDOT.
Manuel also said that the city can get started on these relocation projects before FDOT begins construction, and also mentioned that state contractors could be used for these projects, however, a great deal of money could be saved by hiring local contractors.
At the westmost beginning of the Good Neighbor Trail, a fire hydrant and water main along Whitfield Ave. will need to be relocated, at a reported cost of $5,261.
The stretch of Cortez between Cobb Road and Darby Lane contains multiple water mains, a water meter and a manhole that will need to be relocated, totalling approximately $214,988.
As the trail turns south onto Darby Lane to a scenic area around Tom Varn and McKethan Parks, a Brooksville Fire spigot and city water and sewer relocations will add $21,294.
The remaining FDOT and city water and sewer utilities along the trail that ends on south Main street will cost $106,233.