Polk County Trails Network Continues to Expand
More Interconnected Trails Offer Better Transportation Opportunities
Last updated 2/21/2023 at 12:17pm
Cyclists and pedestrians are one step closer to being able to travel safely from downtown Lakeland to downtown Bartow.
The Polk County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) today accepted funding for construction of a 2.4-mile extension of the Fort Fraser Trail, which currently runs parallel to U.S Highway 98 for eight miles along an abandoned rail line, from State Road 540 to State Rd. 60. The extension will go from U.S. Highway 98 at Winter Lake Rd. to Lake Highlands Rd. at Glendale Rd.
When the Fort Fraser Trail extension is completed, it will interconnect over 36 miles of contiguous paved and unpaved multi-use trails. It will also link Bartow with Lakeland, Lake Hollingsworth with Lake Hancock, Common Ground Park with Circle B-Bar Reserve, and the Lake Hollingsworth Trail with the Fort Fraser Trail.
"This is significant for the residents of Polk County," said George Lindsey, chairman of the Polk County BoCC. "It will enhance the quality of life in our area. Whether you just want to get outside for fun or you want to bike or walk to work, I'm thrilled that there will be a safe option connecting Bartow and Lakeland."
"It's great to see the Board of County Commissioners, the city of Lakeland, the Florida Department of Transportation and the state of Florida working together, as well as Ed Holloway and family, and Orlando Health, both of whom provided deeded right of way, allowing the project to move forward," Lindsey added.
The growing network of area trails is being augmented in Lake Wales as well, with multiple trail projects planned or under construction.
The trail extension will be constructed utilizing a $3,897,960 state-funded grant, administered by the Florida Department of Transportation. Construction bidding is tentatively scheduled for July 2023. Depending on the fabrication and delivery schedule for a new covered bridge to cross wetlands, the tentative start date is October 2023 with an anticipated 12-month schedule.