In December 2004 Sarasota County purchased a 12.4-mile section of former CSX railroad corridor to be transformed into a multi-use recreational trail. The property includes eight bridge trestles, and Ayres Associates was contracted by the County to provide structural engineering services for replacing the two largest trestles, which span Dona and Roberts Bays.
The design for the structures included enhancements that maintain historical perspective. Because the project is highly visible and important to area residents, public involvement was a significant component. Ayres participated in public meetings and provided renderings to illustrate the concepts.
The Dona Bay-Roberts Bay region is a sensitive estuarine environment with oyster bars, mangroves, and other aquatic life. Permitting included wetland delineation and mitigation, threatened and endangered species survey, and minimization of impacts to oyster bars, manatees, sea turtles, and other wildlife through selected construction techniques and design.