Farmville Looks To Bridge Trails

Published 1:00 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2015

FARMVILLE — It could take some time, but walkers, joggers and cyclists will have another option to stretch their legs with the town’s “Buffalo Creek Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge and Trail Connections Project.”

The town is seeking proposals for engineers to design a bridge that will tie Dogwood Trail, which goes behind Centra Southside Community Hospital and spans approximately a half mile, to the 1.6-mile Sarah Terry Walking Trail circling Wilck’s Lake.

Both trails have a lot of foot traffic, and Town Manager Gerald Spates sees the bridge project as an addition to what High Bridge Trail offers.

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Spates figures the project would cost between $400,000 and $600,000. The town, however, has an 80 percent/20 percent Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) grant for the first part of the project (which includes funds for construction) that totals $345,546. Town officials would have to seek more funding once they get construction estimates and it is designed, but the town could apply for additional monies to help toward the balance of the cost. (The total project with the bridge approaches and trial extensions and connections is projected at $840,000. The 20 percent match is planned to come through town work on the trail.)

In the worst-case scenario where the town doesn’t get all of the money, Spates hopes the project goes forward anyway.

“It … may be something similar, except on a smaller scale, of the one they have at Longwood that goes into Lancer Park — something along that lines but not quite as elaborate as that,” Spates explained.

Construction, however, could span some time. Realistically, he said, “if everything goes right, you’re probably looking at 12 months to 18 months because you have to have the bridge design, that has to be submitted for approval and then, once that’s approved,” bids must be sought.

Eventually, there could be a trail that extends further up Buffalo Creek, according to Spates. While that’s a long-range possibility, in the foreground could be a bridge to that future.