Dunnellon Trail Gap Connector moves forward with SUN Trail Funding

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced on October 11 that Citrus County’s Dunnellon Trail Gap Connector has been selected as one of the first year projects under the Shared Use Nonmotorized (SUN) Trail program for $280,000 for Design and permitting this year.  The request to the state was for a bike trail and bridge over US 41 in the Northeast part of Citrus County. This trail connects the Withlacoochee State Trail to the Dunnellon Trail (all part of the Heart of Florida Loop). This short segment of bike trail and bridge (0.9 miles) will connect the Dunnellon area of Marion County with Inverness, Floral City and Brooksville in Citrus and Hernando Counties. In preparation for applying for the grant Citrus County funded the initial PD&E Study, route selection, conceptual design and obtained property easements.

Jeff Rogers, director of Citrus County Public Works Department stated, “This bike trail closes an important gap in the Heart of Florida Loop.  Soon riders on the Withlacoochee State Trail can continue through Citrus County over the river and into Marion County.  This significant improvement adds to the excellent biking experience in Citrus County.”

FDOT is awarding a total of $44,434,543 million to 45 separate projects located across 21 counties throughout Florida. The projects include construction of 11 separate trail segments, which will add or improve approximately 20 miles of trail to Florida’s trail system. Another 34 projects will be in various preconstruction phases of work such as feasibility study, environmental review and design.

Governor Scott said, “Florida is proud to be an outdoors state, and our many incredible bicycle, pedestrian and multi-use trails are great activities for Floridians and visitors to enjoy. I am proud to join FDOT in celebrating this investment today as we work to provide more safe recreational opportunities for families across our state.”

All of the selected projects, including Citrus County, are in the identified SUN Trail network, which consists of the developing statewide system of paved multi-use trails for bicyclists and pedestrians, physically separated from vehicular traffic. For more information visit: http://floridasuntrail.com .