This map provided by Craig City Manager Jim Ferree shows proposed and existing sidewalks near Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School. The city has earmarked a $188,905 Safe Routes to School Grant, offered by the Colorado Department of Transportation, to pay for new sidewalk construction.

Jim Ferree

This map provided by Craig City Manager Jim Ferree shows proposed and existing sidewalks near Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School. The city has earmarked a $188,905 Safe Routes to School Grant, offered by the Colorado Department of Transportation, to pay for new sidewalk construction.

Sidewalk project near local schools progressing, construction date unknown

At a glance ...

• The City of Craig is an estimated two weeks away from contracting an engineer for sidewalk construction in north Craig.

• The project would install sidewalks in existing neighborhoods near Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School.

• A $188,905 Safe Routes to School grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation will pay for design, engineering and construction.

• City manager: Construction start date is “up in the air.”

Quotable

“We’ll get it done, but it does take quite a while.”

— Craig City Manager Jim Ferree about installing sidewalks in neighborhoods near Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School

Students at Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School will, at some point, have a safer way to walk to and from school.

But exactly when the City of Craig can start a grant funded-sidewalk project is still “up in the air,” City Manager Jim Ferree said.

The city plans to install sidewalks along portions of Yampa Avenue and Russell, Tucker and Rose streets between Eighth and Ninth streets, just south of CMS and Sandrock Elementary.

Proposed walkways also are planned on portions of Ninth Street, Breeze Street and 10th Street, the last of which lies northeast of Sandrock Elementary.

A $188,905 Safe Routes to School grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation will pay for engineering costs, as well as design and construction.

The Craig City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement between CDOT and the city, the grant administrator, in April 2011.

A year later, the city is still inching forward.

Within the next two weeks, Ferree expects to bring an engineering firm on board to do preliminary design and survey work, he said.

The city is considering Civil Design Consultants, Inc., and Drexel, Barrell and Co., both Steamboat Springs-based firms.

A proposal from Schmueser Gordon Meyer’s Glenwood Springs office also is in the running.

“They appear all to be very well qualified, so it’s not going to be an easy choice,” Ferree said.

The cost of the engineering work is still unknown.

Per CDOT regulations, city officials couldn’t request bids. Instead, Ferree must choose a firm based on its qualifications then negotiate a contract with the company, he said.

If the total cost exceeds the grant amount, city officials have two options: scale back the project or supplement it with city funds, he said.

When can the project break ground?

It depends, Ferree said.

The city must work through right-of-way issues before construction can start.

“Anytime you work within a preexisting neighborhood, an older neighborhood that’s well established, you’re going to have landscaping, fencing, mail boxes, things like that that we’ll have to address,” he said.

CDOT also must review and approve plans at every stage of the process, he said.

The project, as well as its justification, has a long history.

The need for more sidewalks was determined during CMS construction several years ago, Principal Bill Toovey said.

The city received the grant in August 2010, a little less than a year after it applied.

The Moffat County School District wasn’t eligible to apply for the grant, but district staff played a significant role in securing it, Ferree said.

“We’re just ecstatic that it’s in the process,” Superintendent Joe Petrone said Wednesday.

The project was initially scheduled to be completed this summer, and “our dream is that the students are walking on those new sidewalks … beginning in August,” Petrone said.

However, whether that dream is realized has yet to be seen.

“We’ll get it done, but it does take quite a while,” Ferree said.

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