Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Do Not Enter' Warning -- and the County Means It; Wooden Bridge on Black Creek Trail Damaged

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Do Not Enter' Warning -- and the County Means It; Wooden Bridge on Black Creek Trail Damaged

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, County Line staff writer

The wooden bridge on the Black Creek Trail, damaged when a tractor trailer plowed into it last week, will be repaired, but the process could take months and cost an estimated $200,000.

Until then, Clay County will insist that bicyclists, joggers, walkers and everyone else who uses the trail obey the no entry signs that have been posted on the 0.6-mile bridge, part of a popular 6.8-mile trail along U.S. 17 on Fleming Island.

The four sections that were damaged have been taken down and are lying on the ground, and the sections they connected to, although still intact, may not be safe, said Tom Price, the county's Parks and Recreation director. Daredevils who see the no entry signs and think, "Oh, a challenge," he said, should stop and think again.

"Please stay off the bridge," he said.

About 8:25 a.m. Feb. 2, a Waycross, Ga., man lost control of his tractor trailer and ran off the highway about a mile south of Orange Park, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The driver was thought to have fallen asleep at the wheel, and his truck ran into the wooden bridge, the FHP said.

The 10-foot-wide trail winds along the west side of U.S. 17 from a park-and-ride lot just north of Black Creek to -- and across -- the Doctors Lake Bridge south of Orange Park. The majority of the trail is paved, but a long wooden bridge section sits on pilings over a low portion of land on the northern leg.

Federal funds paid for the $2.8 million project, which was constructed under a contract administered by the Florida Department of Transportation. Although the DOT owns the trail, Clay County planners designed it and the county is responsible for maintenance, including repairs, Price said.

County officials this week were waiting on a final FHP report on the accident. …

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