By Richard Bilbao and Ryan Lynch

A long dormant pedestrian bridge project slated for Orlando’s popular tourist corridor appears to be back on track.

For years, major stakeholders on International Drive have discussed the possibility of an iconic pedestrian bridge — estimated at $15 million or more — that would connect the four corners of I-Drive and Sand Lake Road. Well, now Orange County is seeking experts to help study the feasibility of such a project.

In December, the county released a request for proposals for the International Drive Pedestrian Overpass Intersection Analysis and Overpass Conceptual Design Study. In short: The county wants a consultant to provide “project, planning, preliminary engineering and environmental analysis services” for the bridge, said county documents.

“This study shall include consideration of conceptual design alternatives for the creation of a pedestrian overpass structure which will serve as both a functional pedestrian/bicycle crossing and an aesthetic gateway to the International Drive District,” said the request for proposals.

Interested parties for the study must respond by Feb. 2. More information can be found at the county’s bid site.

Optimum time

The bridge was a major topic in 2013-2017, but never amounted to much due to questions regarding how to fund the overall project — something that remains unknown.

However, the study, funded through I-Drive community redevelopment agency funds, is a step in the right direction, and at the right time, sources told Orlando Business Journal.

“The I-Drive pedestrian bridge is a very significant project that will address two key issues on the very busy intersection of I Drive and Sand Lake Road — pedestrian safety and traffic,” said Angel de la Portilla, government consultant and owner of Central Florida Strategies Inc., who has been providing consultancy services for the bridge for several years. 

De la Portilla said now is the right time to tackle a project of this magnitude on I-Drive, when traffic is lighter and there are fewer pedestrians due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Plus, “the investments show the county’s confidence in a full recovery from the pandemic tourism recession.”

Source: Orlando Business Journal

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