Bridges could make convention center treks easier, safer

Updated:

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

A major stretch of Orange County's tourist corridor could soon be connected with a new series of pedestrian bridges. 

The bridges would connect major International Drive hotels to the Orange County Convention Center and nearby retail centers.

The convention center stretches for blocks, and conventioneers say all the coming and going can wear a body out.

Victor Delgado, from New Mexico, is in town for a convention.

"[The bridges] would make difference. We've had to cross the street many times, going back and forth to restaurants and the hotel.  It would be very beneficial," said Delgado.

Officials will look at a study to develop an 8-acre plot of county-owned land adjacent to the Convention Center's west concourse.  Options include a new hotel, and a new pedestrian bridge from the concourse to the Rosen Plaza hotel.

There are already several of pedestrian bridges that help convention goers get to the hotels and restaurants.  The study indicates that more of them would be better.

Top convention clients who were surveyed said they would also like to see bridges over International Drive to Pointe Orlando, a restaurant hub, and the Peabody Hotel parking garage.   

"If there are weather issues, I'd probably rather take a skywalk system," said Larry Jensen, a convention goer from Iowa.

Documents show that the owner of the Rosen Plaza is pushing for at least one bridge, to be jointly funded and owned with the county. 

Jensen stayed at the Rosen Plaza this week and said a pedestrian bridge is a selling point.

"When I'm looking at a reservation I'd probably book at that hotel," said Jensen.

The piece of property owned by the county has a market value of $10 million.

There is no estimate on how much the bridges would cost.

Orange County commissioners will see the study at a meeting Tuesday.