In December 2004 Sarasota County paid $11.75 million to purchase a 12.4-mile section of former CSX railroad corridor to be transformed into the multi-use Legacy Trail. The corridor connects several county and state parks.
The trail includes eight bridge trestles, and Ayres was contracted by the County to provide structural engineering services for the replacement of the two largest trestles, which span Dona and Roberts Bays. The 393-foot-long and 333-foot-long bridges closed gaps in the Legacy Trail Rails-to-Trails project.
The design for the structures includes enhancements that maintain historical perspective with the use of modified deck forming and colored concrete components. The design will account for the historic nature of these railroads and provide a trestle look to the completed replacement bridge.
The Dona Bay-Roberts Bay region is a sensitive estuarine environment with oyster bars, mangroves, and other aquatic life. Permitting includes 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.
Because the project is highly visible project and important to area residents, public involvement has been a significant component. Ayres participated in two public meetings and provided renderings to illustrate the concepts. During these meetings, Ayres demonstrated the importance of sensitivity to historic and environmental concerns and collaborated with the public to arrive at an acceptable solution to the stakeholders.