Craig receives $930K for sidewalks connecting Ridgeview to city | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig receives $930K for sidewalks connecting Ridgeview to city

Lauren Blair







— New sidewalks are finally in the future of Ridgeview residents in Craig, thanks to news that the city received a $930,000 grant this week from Colorado Department of Transportation.

The funds will allow for construction of sidewalks along U.S. Highway 40 or Crescent Drive from possibly Wickes Avenue on the west side of the Ridgeview development to Loaf 'N Jug at the intersection of US Highway 40 and Colorado Highway 13.

"(It's been) probably 25 years, that I know of, that people have been asking for sidewalks there," said Craig Road & Bridge Director Randy Call, who applied for the grant last year.

"This is what they call a highway safety improvement project," he said. "This all relates to that fatality."

In 2010, 34-year-old Justin Dean Bliss was walking toward Craig along the shoulder of Highway 40 in the early morning when he was hit by part of a westbound semi truck carrying a wide load.

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While Call hopes there's a chance of beginning construction as early as 2018, the design process, as well as other funding requirements, will take time.

"If we could fast-track it, the city would like to go into construction in 2018," Call said. But, he added, "the Safe Routes to Schools has taken six years," referencing another project that took a step forward at Tuesday's Craig City Council meeting.

Federal funding through CDOT will cover 90 percent of the cost, with state or local funds making up the remaining 10 percent. The project is expensive due to the likely need for retaining walls on a steep hill west of Loaf 'N Jug.

The news is welcome at a time when city officials are looking to invest in pedestrian-friendly infrastructure.

"This is going to really help us get our sidewalk program going for that side of town and also expand our hike and bike trails,” said Craig City Manager Mike Foreman. “But mainly (it will) provide a service to the people on that side of town that need to get to work and get to stores."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1795 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.