Windsor is a town divided, at least when it comes to trying to cross Highway 101 in the center of the community.
To help overcome a significant barrier for cyclists and pedestrians, Windsor officials are looking at building a bridge for them over Highway 101, or burrowing under it, to better connect the two sides of town.
The cost isn’t cheap — an estimated $8 million to $10 million for an overcrossing and anywhere from $7.5 million to $16 million for a tunnel under the four-lane freeway.
But town officials say there are potential federal and state grants available to pay for at least one of the options.
“Our consultant has been pretty positive it’s the type of project that could get funded,” Windsor Mayor Debora Fudge said Tuesday.
“These are big dollars for the town,” acknowledged Stuart Hayre, Windsor’s deputy director of engineering, thought he notes that projects with a bike and pedestrian component do better when it comes to competing for transportation funding.
The town for a couple of years has been looking at how to improve connectivity between east and west Windsor with the help of a $250,000 contract that was awarded to consultants Steven Grover & Associates. The options will be presented at 10 a.m. Saturday at a public workshop at Town Hall.
The Old Redwood Highway crossing under Highway 101 currently serves the majority of the town, but heavy traffic can make it difficult to cross, especially with vehicles going off and coming onto the freeway, on both the northbound and southbound sides.
The narrow bike lanes are also substandard and the sidewalk too narrow for a shared use pathway.
The town conducted a survey that found strong concern about the safety of the underpass at Highway 101 and “Old Red” among 288 respondents.
About 75 percent said they would like to see separation between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. That’s one option under consideration — to create protected, two-way bike lanes and a 12-foot sidewalk under the current underpass, at a cost ranging from $2 million to $3.9 million, depending on alterations to a supporting wall.
A new car-free bridge estimated to cost as much as $10 million could be built just to the north with a curving shape that aligns with Windsor Creek on both sides of the freeway.
That might connect with a $2.5 million bike-pedestrian “promenade” that would extend between the two service stations on Old Redwood Highway west of Highway 101.
The town is also considering a Lakewood “slip ramp” at a cost of $2.2 million that would enable traffic coming from Lakewood Drive and on to the northbound on-ramp of the freeway, to avoid crossing paths with bikes and people on foot.
Town officials emphasize that they want input from the community on the alternatives.
“It’s something that’s exciting for Windsor,” Fudge said. “We want people to show up. I don’t want a few people to make a decision for many.”
To help interested residents become more familiar with the details, the town has scheduled walking tours beginning at Cafe Nolo and lasting about 90 minutes, including one led by a town consultant on Friday at 4 p.m.