New College Avenue sidewalks increase student safety

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The city and county boundary lines are perhaps more apparent on College Avenue east of James M. Bennett High School than anywhere else in Salisbury.

A wide and well-designed College Avenue — inside the city limits — quickly becomes a rural-neighborhood road when heading east toward Snow Hill Road. The street narrows, sidewalks vanish, motorists suddenly find themselves squeezing closer together.

Then, when College Avenue turns into Beaglin Park Drive — and goes back into the city limits — the road is wider and appears well-planned again.

Work began Monday on the Safe Routes to School sidewalk project on College Avenue and Beaglin Park Drive. According to county officials, the project will involve traffic control with lane closures in the work zones.

Expected to take about four weeks to complete, sidewalk and gutter concrete work will be followed with a repaving of College Avenue from the end of the high school all the way to the intersection of Snow Hill Road.

The Safe Routes to School effort is funded by a grant by the Federal Highway Administration through the State of Maryland Highway Administration. The half-mile sidewalk project was awarded to Metro Paving of Hyattsville for approximately $200,000.

“The Safe Routes to School program is a great way for Public Works to work with educational partners in the community,” said Lee Beauchamp, Wicomico Public Works director. “These projects allow for sidewalk improvements where they are needed the most to improve safety for students and to promote a walk-able community.”

The County’s first Safe Routes to School project, Salisbury Middle, was completed on Morris Street in 2009.

County Executive Rick Pollitt said the federal money will be a definite help to the local government.

“The Safe Routes to School program, coupled with our highly successful speed camera effort, is dramatically improving the safety of our young people that walk to school every day,” Pollitt said.

“I’m grateful for the support and cooperation of the property owners along the route who willingly granted us the easements for the sidewalks,” Pollitt said. “With new sidewalks and clear evidence of slowing traffic, the way to school has never been safer.”

The Public Works’ Roads Division would like travelers to know that traffic disruptions will be limited to single lane closures while crews install the concrete sidewalk.

In conjunction with this project, the county will also repave the section of College Avenue from the end of the Bennett High School project to the intersection of Snow Hill Road.

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