Some area children who get to school on foot will soon have new sidewalks for their convenience.
The new sidewalks will be installed as a result of a grant for which local non-profit organization Starkville in Motion successfully applied.
The application was through Safe Routes to School, a federally funded organization that has been in existence since 1997.
City Engineer Edward Kemp said two sites â€” the intersection of Long Street and Miss. Highway 182 and Whitfield Street â€” will see the new paths.
Kemp said he anticipates construction, which will be done by Pritchard Engineering, will take approximately two months to complete.
â€śIf you go up (to the intersection of Long Street and Miss. Highway 182) and look right now, there is some sidewalk going down Long Street going to the north and then there is a small section on (Ernest H.) Jones (Jr. Drive). The sidewalks just stop. There are no (Americans with Disabilities Act) ramps. There are no crosswalks. There are some pedestrian buttons on these mast arms for the signals but thereâ€™s no way to walk to those mast arms and actually push the button,â€ť Kemp said. â€śIf youâ€™re disabled or in a wheelchair there is no way for you to go over there and push the button.â€ť
Mayor Parker Wiseman said heâ€™s pleased to see the sidewalk expansion taking place.
â€śThis is a project we have been excited about for some time now. The city engineer, Pritchard Engineering and officials from the Mississippi Department of Transportation have worked together for years to bring this project into fruition,â€ť Wiseman said. â€śIt will be a substantial sidewalk expansion project that will increase the walkability from major residential areas to Armstrong Middle School. We are very excited about this project and I am very thankful for the diligent work and relentless advocacy that has allowed it to happen.â€ť
Kemp said the project has an infrastructure and non-infrastructure component. The non-infrastructure component consists of education and encouragement.
â€śThese are routes we know a lot of kids walk to school whether it be Henderson (Ward-Stewart Intermediate School) or Armstrong (Middle School) if you live in the north part of town. Weâ€™re just trying to make this a safer intersection.â€ť