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101 1st St NE
Box 12
Bowman, ND 58623-0012

City to get new, fixed sidewalks with Safe Routes to Schools project

March 13, 2015

 

The city of Bowman is working on a project to install new and rehabilitate older, deteriorated sidewalks along the north side of 1st Street SW, stretching from 3rd Avenue SE to the front of Roosevelt Elementary on 7th Avenue. Photo by Bryce Martin | Pioneer
The city of Bowman is working on a project to install new and rehabilitate older, deteriorated along the north side of 1st Street SW, stretching from 3rd Avenue SE to the front of Roosevelt Elementary on 7th Avenue. Photo by Bryce Martin | Pioneer

By Bryce Martin | Pioneer Editor | bmartin@countrymedia.net

A mix of new and upgraded sidewalk will stretch continuously along 1st Street SW in Bowman from 3rd Avenue SE up to the front of Roosevelt Elementary once the city finishes its current Safe Routes to Schools project.

Bowman City Commission President Lyn James said she is hopeful that the project will be completed ahead of the next school season in August though the start date of the bidding process is uncertain.

The estimated $318,000 sidewalk project was initiated by the city of Bowman with a goal to promote safety, health and wellness in the community. It involves installing new sidewalk and replacing areas along the north side of 1st Street SW that have either deteriorated or that are not approved by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Once the project is completed, the entire stretch of sidewalk will be accessible by wheelchairs.

The project is made possible by the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to Schools program, which has enabled communities around North Dakota to receive grants annually to improve crucial paths that students would walk to school.

“A fully paved sidewalk from Roosevelt … is a great idea,” said Tracy Lecoe, principal of Roosevelt Elementary. “There are many students that travel to the rec center for a variety of activities and safety is always a concern. A concrete path that can be utilized by the students will make parents and children feel safer.”

James said, however, that it’s for more than just school students.

“It takes not only kids but citizens passed the post office, through the business district, the movie theater, the park, the rec center and then the school system,” she said.

The city has used funds from the ’s school routes program in previous years to update other routes where larger amounts of students walk. James said she is particularly proud of the current project because it provides a continuous ribbon of sidewalk from 3rd Avenue SE, all the way to Roosevelt Elementary on 7th Avenue SW.

“It’s a good investment in the infrastructure of our community,” she said. “Health and wellness seems to be at the forefront of a lot of conversation at all ages and safety, of course, is something that the city is always interested in.”

James said the project promotes safety, as people will be able to walk on a solid path instead of walking on the street. It also could promote more outdoor exercise, as James said more people might want to become active if the city creates a “pleasant” place for walking.

A large-scale sidewalk project is not typical for the city, which James said doesn’t create sidewalks unless there is grant funding available.

The city of Bowman is responsible for $71,000 of the project’s total cost. The county agreed to match those funds with $71,000 and the NDDOT will cover the remainder of the cost, which is estimated to total $318,000. If the bids come in over that figure, the city would be responsible for additional funding, according to James.

The project connects the east and west side of the city with approximately three quarters of a mile of a single sidewalk along 1st Street. The portion of sidewalk from 3rd Avenue SE to Highway 85 will be a combination of new and rehabbed sidewalks, according to James. The path leading from the corner of Main and 1st Streets is particularly deteriorated so that would be replaced.

Once you cross Highway 85 to the west, however, James said the work is “hit and miss,” with areas where there is no current sidewalk and others where the sidewalk is either in good shape or needs to be redone.

The sidewalks involved in the project are considered to be in right-of-way areas, which means pedestrians are legally allowed to cross those areas though they belong to another entity. The city, as James explained, is not necessarily responsible for building “everyone a sidewalk.”

Certain property owners will be affected during the construction process, though James said disturbances would be short lasting. The effect on landowners largely regards their driveways. James said certain requirements established by the NDDOT must be met in those cases as it relates to driveways.

“Some people may want to say, ‘As long as you’re tearing out this much, I’ll pay to do this part,’” James said, in which case both projects could be completed simultaneously.

James explained, however, that the city would not replace people’s driveways in their entirety; the work done by the city would only extend the width of the sidewalk. The homeowner would be responsible for the rest. James did indicate that the city would work with homeowners if a certain “gentle” sloping of the driveway exists.

“That’s where we will meet with each of those homeowners,” James said.

The city will invite certain homeowners that reside along 1st Street SW to a regular meeting of the Bowman City Board of Commissioners on March 24 to outline the project and discuss any concerns.

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