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Cascades Park Bridge Construction Begins To Connect North and South Sides Of Town

Caitie Switalski For WFSU

Cascades Park will soon be connected to FAMU Way by a multi-use trail. Officials held a groundbreaking Wednesday for a new bridge, marking the next phase of the project.

FAMU, Downtown Tallahassee, FSU, College Town, the All-Saints area, Gaines and Lafayette streets will all be accessible on foot or by bike once the bridge and trail are finished. The project will extend three city blocks, and attach Cascades Park to Adams Street and FAMU Way with a bridge over Monroe Street. The bridge is designed to mimic the canopied concrete design of the amphitheater in Cascades.

Wayne Tedder from the intergovernmental agency, Blueprint 2000, said the bridge and trail should be complete in about nine months. And he expects it’ll see plenty of use.  

“You will see some immediate impact once this trail system connects FAMU Way.  You’ll see a lot of traffic that comes back and forth between the university – FAMU University, and Cascades Park. It will be almost immediately, I will guarantee,” Tedder said.  

The environmentally-friendly concrete bridge will harness solar energy with canopies made using solar fabric to be used for colorful LED lighting at night. And County Commissioner Nick Maddox said, the bridge will serve as both a physical and metaphorical community link.

“Most important part of it – it’s gonna bridge a gap in our community between the north side and the south side,” Maddox said.  

Jason Peters is from the Florida Department of Transportation. The department contributed almost one-and-a-half million dollars to build the connector bridge over Monroe Street. He said a significant consideration for the bridge is safety.

“We have taken a more focused effort on bicyclist and pedestrian safety,” Peters said. “State of Florida is one of the highest ranked states within the nation as far as bicycle and pedestrian fatalities.”

FAMU Way is currently under construction, but scheduled to be partially opened in October of this year. Its will connect the east and west parts of the trail. The final phase of the Cascades Park project includes connecting FAMU Way to the St. Marks Trail.