Wellington plans work on busy Big Blue Trace

This rendering provides a look at proposed landscaping along Big Blue Trace, a project that is also designed to encourage drivers to slow down. [Village of Wellington]

A busy Wellington road is set for some major improvements that village staff say will improve the look and safety of the street.

Nearly the entirety of Big Blue Trace — from Paddock Drive to South Shore Boulevard — is included in the project, which Wellington plans to present to residents in a virtual and in-person workshop at 6 p.m. June 21 at the Wellington Community Center, 12150 Forest Hill Blvd. (Click here to learn more about the workshop, including how to join virtually.)

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Wellington’s staff has already talked with some homeowners associations along the route, Village Engineer Jonathan Reinsvold said.

“We’ve been going to them, explaining the project and getting feedback from them,” he said. “So far, the public input has been positive.”

New features along the stretch would include periodic spaces with backless benches and trash cans, more trees, additional landscaping on existing medians in the road and a few new medians with landscaping that includes trees, plans show.

The idea to refresh Big Blue Trace with new landscaping and irrigation is about three years in the making. The project, which is budgeted at $1.2 million, first went through the initial planning stages about three years ago, but there were issues with the previous contractor beginning work, so that contract was canceled because the work wouldn’t be completed in the expected timeframe, during the summer, which is off-season for schools and equestrian sports, Reinsvold said.

When that happened, Wellington’s staff decided to “take a step back” and see what could be added to Big Blue Trace to implement a plan that incorporated elements of Vision Zero, a goal to end traffic fatalities and make streets safer for all users, Reinsvold said.

“We went back to the drawing board and took a more holistic approach,” he said. “Where is there opportunity to slow some of the cars down and try to calm some of the traffic on this road?”

Referring to speed studies that have been done on Big Blue Trace, the average speed is about 48 to 49 miles per hour on the road, which has a speed limit of 40 miles per hour, Reinsvold said.

“What we decided to do was add traffic-calming medians along with the landscaping that we were proposing in the project,” he said, noting that Wellington worked with contractor Kimley Horn on the proposed design.

“It beautifies the corridor, and it also is intended to slow the traffic down,” Reinsvold said.

The project is in the preliminary construction phase, he said. A contractor still needs to be chosen, and that will be subject to council approval. Construction should begin next May, he said.


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