New sidewalk stepping along

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 19, 2009

Parts of the new sidewalk on George Wallace Drive are already in place for pedestrian use.

And, Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said the remainder of the project is moving along as scheduled.

“I don’t know the exact timeframe, but it is running on schedule,” Lunsford said.

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The project, which is funded by a federal transportation enhancement grant from the Department of Transportation, has been in the works for a little more than a year.

Once it is completed, a sidewalk will line the streets of George Wallace Drive, from University Avenue just short of U.S. Highway 231.

Lunsford said all the parts of the project that were fairly easy to do have been completed.

“They are making a good bit of progress,” he said.

The remainder of the work to be done will require more special detail, like adding handicap accessibility to the sidewalk and cutting some of the areas to make the ground level.

The grant total was $400,000, and construction bids were around $218,000 for Caldwell Construction.

Lunsford said the sidewalk is just another important step toward improving pedestrian safety within the city.

As part of the city of Troy’s long-range plans, Lunsford has already said sidewalks will be included in all road improvements for the future.

This one, he hopes, will be beneficial to the neighborhood’s residents and increase pedestrian activity.

“I hope it will encourage folks in the neighborhood to utilize it more often,” Lunsford said.

“And it will be good from the university standpoint for students to get out to the bypass area.”

Troy University officials agreed.

Darlene Schmurr-Stewart, dean of International Student Services, said the new sidewalk will increase safety for all students, particularly many in the international student population.

“For the number of students that live off campus, the lack of sidewalks becomes a safety issue,” Schmurr-Stewart said. “The sidewalks being installed from here to 231 will give them a safe place to walk.”

Schmurr-Stewart said many international students live in neighborhoods off of George Wallace Drive and past U.S. 231. She also said several walk to businesses along the highway.

“My goal would be to have a bike path there, too,” she said. “Right now, the sidewalk is a great improvement.”