Athens is getting new sidewalks and Athens-Clarke County officials are seeking an improved strategy to decide where they should be constructed.
According to the Athens Banner-Herald, officials are moving away from taking requests and moving towards a system that more accurately addresses pedestrian infrastructure.
The Athens-Clarke County Commission’s Legislative Review Committee is working with the county’s Transportation & Public Works Department and county management on the project.
The County is looking at an estimated $3 million in special purpose local option sales tax funds coming available for sidewalk work.
“The sidewalk assessment will be particularly difficult going forward, according to Steve Decker, the county’s transportation engineer, who told committee members at their Thursday meeting that “the easy sidewalks have been put in,” according to the article. “Now, in many instances, putting in new sidewalks will require significant engineering work, including grading and the installation of retaining walls in areas where the topography presents challenges for locating sidewalks.”
Another issue the county is facing is the cost of the acquisition of the right of way, which is needed in order for the sidewalks to be located far enough away from adjacent streets.
The top project on the current list of projects is a proposed sidewalk on the southeast side of Riverbend Road. The sidewalk would be 2,540-feet, stretching from the Riverbend Club Apartments to South Millege Avenue. It would cost approximately $203,200.
“A number of other sidewalks on the list, ranked under the county’s current criteria – which, in addition to topography, consider whether a proposed location is adjacent to a high-speed road, or shows evidence of pedestrian traffic (such as a worn dirt path), or connects existing sidewalks – carry price tags of $200,000 or more,” the article reads. “In addition to three segments of Riverbend Road, the 10 top-ranked projects include segments of Barnett Shoals and Newton Bridge roads, Oglethorpe Avenue, Macon Highway, Research Drive, South Milledge Avenue and Ila Road.”
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