On Tuesday, Aug. 28, the Wellington Village Council approved plans to move forward on a design for a pedestrian bridge over the C-1 Canal at Flying Cow Road.
The bridge would link up with an existing path from Binks Forest Drive near the Binks Pointe community.
When completed, residents will be able to walk or bike across the completed bridge and seven-mile path to get from Flying Cow Road to the Binks Forest area.
The last section, which includes the bridge, represents only a 300-foot addition to a path that is currently more than six miles long.
In 2011, the village received an $800,000 grant to begin the path along Flying Cow Road with construction completed in 2012.
The project was extended in 2014 with a multipurpose path that could be used as a bike path. This section extended from Flying Cow Road to Palm Beach Point along the C-23 Canal. This section also includes an equestrian trail.
The path serves a recreational role, including walking, running and cycling, according to Wellington’s Director of Strategic Planning Michael O’Dell.
“You see families biking,” O’Dell said. “You see couples jogging. People on their morning run. There’s lots of folks out there. I’ve seen people walking their dogs.”
O’Dell is optimistic about what the completion of the seven-mile loop will mean for the community.
“[The bridge and extension] will give people the opportunity to complete the loop,” O’Dell said. “It will take them from Binks Forest across to Flying Cow and down the C-23 to Palm Beach Point, and then back to where they started. It’ll give people the opportunity to get down to Section 24. People from communities such as Paddock Park can bike over. It’s a great ride.”
Village Engineer Tom Lundeen agreed that the new project will increase use of the pathway system.
“The path will get used more,” Lundeen said. “[The existing path] is hard to get to. The only access is from the C-23 Canal at Palm Beach Point.”
The project’s budget is $715,000, but $371,000 will be paid for with Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) grant funds that the village applied for and received.
Senior Engineer Jonathan Reinsvold was involved with the construction of the existing pathway three years ago and is also involved with this current extension.
“The design is just about done,” Reinsvold said. “Once the design is approved, we will advertise and begin soliciting bids.”
Reinsvold estimated that the contract will call for either 90 or 120 days for the bridge and pathway project.