Fuller Warren Bridge walkway could connect Riverside and San Marco

by: Catherine Varnum Updated:

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

Changes are now being made to a plan to expand one of our area's busiest roadways. The costly project could fix what some call a problem for future events.

A new walkway could give families a safer way out of downtown.

Downtown is full of American pride on the Fourth of July, people lining up, waiting to watch the sky light up.

But people like Shirley Jones were surprised to hear about a new plan Action News just found out about a bike and pedestrian path across the river along the Fuller Warren Bridge. 

“In Riverside, we like to do a lot of outside activities, riding bike paths, walking paths, jogging paths. It's all very important,” Jones said. Action News first told you in December about the Florida Department of Transportation’s plan to widen the Fuller Warren.

The DOT said with the city's growth, the area has reached capacity and traffic can't move efficiently during peak times. 

The plan came with concerns -- the end of the Riverside Arts Market and fewer areas for walkers and bikers.    

But Councilman Robin Lumb said FDOT is now changing its tune. 

“It looks like DOT is giving favorable consideration to a mixed-use bike/pedestrian path across the river,” Lumb said.  

Lumb said it would be a first of its kind pathway across the river, connecting Riverside to San Marco and beyond.

It also wouldn't impact the arts market as it makes a way for people to ahead across the river. 

“All the pieces are coming together for downtown,” Lumb said. 

DOT said it is still working on the concept, but it would not be part of the existing Overland Bridge construction. It would be a new project and there's no cost estimate yet.     

For Jones, it's about the ease of access, while improving our roadways. 

“It'd be great access, because you could start on one side when they finish the Riverwalk on the opposite side, you can go continue all the way into Riverside and back,” Jones said.

The project is still in the planning stages and a start date remains a couple of years away.