City to build sidewalks near Craig Middle School, Sandrock Elementary | CraigDailyPress.com

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City to build sidewalks near Craig Middle School, Sandrock Elementary

Skylar Dean, left, and Codie Shelley walk home Wednesday from Craig Middle School down Russell Street. Shelley, a sixth grader at CMS, said he walks Russell Street every day after school. Russell Street is one of several streets in the school's vicinity expected to get a sidewalk as part of a city project being funded by a grant through the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Joshua Gordon

Craig City Manager Jim Ferree said a lack of sidewalks near Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School presents a safety issue for pedestrians.

"On a lot of these streets, we not only don't have sidewalks, we have on-street parking, so the street gets fairly constricted with cars parked on the street," Ferree said. "You add pedestrians to that and it gets fairly congested."

An upcoming city project will help remedy the problem by adding more sidewalks near the schools.

The project will be paid for through a $188,905 grant through Safe Routes to School and the Colorado Department of Education.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Craig City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement between the city and CDOT for the project.

The proposed sidewalks will be added to fill gaps from Breeze to Rose streets, between Eighth and 10th streets.

Ferree said it is a project that has been in progress since late 2009, when the city applied for the grant with the help of the Moffat County School District.

The city received approval for the grant in August. Ferree said he isn't expecting construction to start until next summer.

Ferree said the grant money would cover design, engineering and construction of the sidewalks. If costs are higher than the project budget allows, he said some sections would not be built.

"We won't know exactly how much we will be able to build until we go out to bid for construction and that probably will not be until late this year or early next year," he said.

The location for the project was chosen because of the school district's involvement, the city manager said.

"Obviously all schools need sidewalks, but this was probably one where it's just a good place to start," he said. "We have limited funds and we're only able to do so much and I think it was the school district's priority to get this done."

Ferree said the sidewalks will be built on city right-of-way. He told city council members there would "undoubtedly be issues" with items such as landscaping and mailboxes on private property.

Ferree told city council members there will be an effort to educate residents who could be impacted by construction.

Ferree said before the project can move forward, CDOT needs to review and execute the intergovernmental agreement.

"Then I assume we'll start making plans to solicit proposals for engineering and design services," Ferree said.

Craig Mayor Terry Carwile praised the project during the city council meeting.

"It's been a long time coming and I'm anxious to see what it looks like once we get fired up and going," Carwile said. "There's certainly a significant need around the community for more sidewalks, especially in proximity to the schools in town."

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