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C.M. Walker/Alachua County Today

Newberry City Manager Mike New addresses the joint county-city meeting held at Newberry City Hall.

NEWBERRY – A resolution supporting Alachua County's priority project list for SUNTrail funding for projects impacting the City of Newberry was approved at a joint city/county meeting June 13.

The Shared Use Non-Motorized Trail (SUNTrail) program was approved by the Florida Legislature in 2015. The program, which is overseen by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), provides for funding of trails through Florida and is paid for through the re-distribution of automobile tag sales.

The legislature allocated $25 million annually to the program, which is slated to begin during the 2016/2017 fiscal year.

Chris Dawson, Alachua County Senior Transportation Planner, presented a draft list of priorities for the Newberry City Commission to review. Programs presented in the resolution included projects in priority order, three of which would involve the City of Newberry, and are expected to run from 2017 – 2022, if approved by the State.

Priority 1: Gainesville to Newberry Trail – Northwest 43rd Street to Newberry Lane (5.9 miles)

According to the report, “This section of trail is proposed to run within the State Road 26 right-of-way. As envisioned, the trail would be located on the north side of the roadway at the edge of the right-of-way…This section may be the easiest of the sections to implement as no right-of-way needs to be acquired.”

The cost to design this project is estimated to be $356,250. Construction would begin in 2019 and is anticipated to cost $2.375 million with another $240,000 for construction engineering and inspection.

Priority 2: Hawthorne to Palatka Trail – Grade-separated Crossing at U.S. Hwy. 301

This project was previously approved and funded for construction in 2016, and will bring riders of the Gainesville – Hawthorne Trail from the current trailhead through downtown Hawthorne to the U.S. Hwy. 301 – State Road 20 intersection. There is no bicycle or pedestrian phase at this intersection, raising safety concerns. This project would provide for a grade-separated 12-ft.-wide crossing of U.S. Hwy. 301 south of the existing State Road 20 bridge. The bridge would also allow children living in subdivisions east of U.S. Hwy. 301 along State Road 20 to walk or bike to the schools on the west side of U.S. Hwy. 301.”

The cost to design is estimated to be $243,000. Construction would begin in 2020 and is anticipated to cost $1.620 million with an additional $240,000 for construction engineering and inspection.

Priority 3: Nature Coast Trail Extension – Newberry Rail Exchange to County Line (2.75 miles)

This section has previously been acquired by the State from Trenton to the Alachua County Line and this project proposes acquisition of the portion of the rail corridor from the County Line into the rail exchange in Newberry, either through fee simple acquisition or utilizing the rail-banking provisions of the federal statute. Additionally, the project would include construction of a 12-ft.-wide asphalt trail. This corridor would connect to other regional trails that the County is working on, including the Hawthorne-to-Newberry Rail Trail.”

Obtaining rights-of-way is expected to cost $1 million. Design is estimated to be $165,000, and construction would begin in 2022, anticipated at $1.1 million. Construction engineering and inspection is estimated at $110,000.

Priority 4: Archer to Bronson Trail – U.S. 27/41 to Levy County (2.8 miles)

“This project is essentially an extension of the Archer Braid Trail from its current terminus at the Archer water tower along State Road 24 to the County Line. The project…would be a 10 – 12 ft. wide multi-use path within the existing State Road 24 right-of-way. This project will need to…identify a connection from the water tower back to State Road 24.”

Design is estimated at $170,500. Construction beginning in 2022 and is expected to be $1.15 million. Construction engineering and inspection is estimated at $114,250.

Priority 5: Newberry to Gainesville Trail – Northwest 260th Street to Newberry Lane (1.6 miles)

“This project would connect the Nature Coast Trail to the Newberry to Gainesville Trail through downtown along the State Road 26 corridor. The exact alignment of the corridor will require some planning and coordination. FDOT is currently undertaking a Planning, Development and Environmental (PD&E) study for State Road 26 through downtown Newberry…This section of the trail would be a mix of in-street and off-street facilities. As proposed, project timing will be dependent upon the implementation of improvements to the State Road 26 corridor.”

Project design is estimated to be $105,000 and construction $700,000, while construction engineering and inspection would be $70,000.

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