The Florida Department of Transportation has modified its plan for the Interstate 95-Interstate 10 Overland Bridge Project south of Downtown to address concerns raised by neighbors along the path of the roadway and in surrounding neighborhoods.
The most major modification to the design is a 12-foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle path along the south side of the Fuller Warren Bridge.
Other changes include sound-dampening walls, mast-mounted shielded LED light fixtures to reduce the amount of light spilling from the roadway to the streets below and the removal of retention ponds beneath I-95 from College Street to Riverside Avenue. The new design calls for the ponds to be filled to allow for future development of the site.
At-large Group 5 City Council member Robin Lumb displayed renderings of the new site plan on Wednesday at City Hall. He said the state’s ultimate implementation of the changes is in the “99 percent confidence range” and if the state had not already adopted the new design “they wouldn’t have created these maps.”
Lumb said the impact of the finished project on the Riverside Arts Market below the bridge will be minimized and limited to the piers that will support the walkway.
He also said a landscaping plan for the area under and adjacent to the project will be developed in coordination with the city
The original budget for the project submitted by FDOT in 2012 was $150 million.
According to a cost projection Lumb distributed when he showed the new design, the cost of the project as modified would be approximately $120 million, including $19.7 million for the walkway, which was not included in the original design.
Lumb said the state’s position has historically been “our way or the highway” when it came to making design changes to its projects based on public input, “but that culture has changed.”
Describing the design, particularly the walkway along the bridge, as a “game changer,” Lumb said the project should make the area more appealing to “urbanistas” – potential residents who are attracted to living in or near Downtown and would prefer not to depend exclusively on an automobile for transportation.
He said the state has scheduled a public meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 28 in a meeting space at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens to further explain the changes in the design.