Making Sanibel Safer: City completes Bowman’s Beach Road shared use path
Following months of work, the city of Sanibel has completed the new Bowman’s Beach Road shared use path, which will be officially open for public use sometime next week.
On April 12, the Public Works Department finished the project’s road and path striping work.
Director Keith Williams explained that the last step is a safety walk-though to check it.
“We anticipate having it fully open to the public next week,” he said today.
The project encompassed the Bowman’s Beach path and road intersection, along with installing a new crosswalk and legends across Sanibel Captive Road and Bowman’s Beach Road, officials reported.
“This project has been years in the planning,” City Manager Judie Zimomra said.
She noted that it was the final element of a major expansion of the city’s shared use path.
“We currently have 25.54 miles of SUP (shared use path) on the island,” Williams said. “So, with the addition of the Bowman’s Beach Road path, our total will rise to 26.06 miles.”
He explained that the project was part of the city’s Shared Use Path Master Plan. In particular, it focused on the stretch of road from Sanibel Captiva Road south to Bowman’s Beach Park.
“People had to walk or bike along Bowman’s Beach Road itself,” Williams said.
The project created a new shared use path for the public instead.
“We try to make an effort to provide non-motorized opportunities for the public,” he said.
The city received a $200,000 grant through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Recreational Trails Program to cover half of the project’s total cost, which was about $400,000.
The other $200,000 was budgeted out of the city’s parking funds, or beach parking fees.
“That’s what’s funding this project,” Williams said.
The new path is approximately 2,750 feet long and 10 feet wide.
“We do have some center lines in places where there’s curves,” he said.
Zimomra noted that island wildlife was taken into consideration.
“The route was very meticulously selected each step of the way to avoid gopher tortoise habitat,” she said.
The path is located along the west side of Bowman’s road.
“It winds through some native habitat before entering Bowman’s Beach Park,” Williams said. “Also, we did some slight alignment of Bowman’s Beach Road near Sanibel Captiva Road.”
Zimomra added that the scope of the project was adjusted after the initial design to accommodate additional drainage improvements.
Both pointed out that the recent storm season had an impact on the project’s timeline.
“The project was actually delayed a little bit by Hurricane Irma,” he said.
Paving for the project was completed toward the end of March.
“Bowman’s Beach is a very popular beach park on Sanibel,” Williams said, adding that the road was one lacking safe access into the park for non-motorists. “So, it was high on our list to address.”
For more information on the Shared Use Path Master Plan, visit www.mysanibel.com.