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Two trail overpasses to rise in Seminole

By the fall, Pinellas Trail users will be able to avoid major traffic while they walk, run and bike through the city.

Workers will begin building an overpass at Seminole Boulevard within the next two weeks, blocks from where construction started on an overpass on 113th Street late last year.

The Florida Department of Transportation has been making its way through Pinellas County, putting up bridges where the trail crosses the busiest streets. The county estimates that 100,000 people use the trail each month.

The 113th Street overpass at 70th Avenue should be completed by the end of June, and the one on Seminole Boulevard at 66th Avenue is expected to be done by early fall, department spokeswoman Leo Folsom said. Total, the two projects will cost $2.5-million.

The trail runs 47 miles from St. Petersburg to North Pinellas, broken only by a 2-mile stretch through downtown Clearwater and by Cross Bayou near Bay Pines.

After almost three years of delays, construction on the portion of the trail known as the "Clearwater Gap" is expected to start in April and be completed by October.

Area merchants had to wait for the $656,000 project while the county and CSX Railroad, which owns the tracks along the trail, worked out differences involving right-of-way issues.

Folsom said work on a 3,000-foot, $4.2-million bridge to span the water of Cross Bayou and link St. Petersburg with the northern parts of the trail will begin in August. Construction is expected to take two years. Until then, trail users will have to continue sharing the Bay Pines Boulevard bridge with the 45,000 cars that use it daily.

Overpasses also are planned for east of the Cross Bayou bridge at Park Street and at Pasadena and Central avenues. Those are being designed but the state still hasn't found money for construction.

_ Times staff writer Anita Kumar can be reached at 445-4160 or by e-mail at kumarsptimes.com.

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