WATERLOO, Iowa --- New sidewalks and crosswalks near Lincoln Elementary School are planned to improve school safety.
The project, ready for construction soon, is the city's first under the Safe Routes to School program, a federally funded initiative to make it less dangerous for children to walk to classes.
Associate City Engineer Wayne Castle said the project primarily involves building sidewalks where they currently don't exist, which will help keep kids from walking in streets.
Vieth Construction, of Cedar Falls, was the lowest bidder when the Iowa Department of Transportation opened bids July 17. The City Council was expected to approve the $133,748 contract today with work to start in late August or early September.
In-fill sidewalk would be constructed along West Parker and Newton streets with a new sidewalk on the east side of Longfellow Avenue between West Parker and Lincoln Elementary. A new sidewalk would be built on the west side of Longfellow between Walker and Virginia streets, and crossings two crossings would be improved.
A future phase calls for sidewalk to connect the school with the Greenbrier neighborhood, Castle said.
A spokesperson for Waterloo Community Schools said the district appreciates the effort to expand sidewalks through the Safe Routes to Schools program.
"We know it's safer for kids and parents to walk on sidewalks, and the more we can have near our schools, the better," said Sharon Miller. "Walking is such a healthy exercise; we want to partner with our communities and parents to help kids have safe walking paths whenever we can."
While the Lincoln project is the first in Waterloo, the city has been awarded funding to do similar Safe Routes to School improvements at Irving Elementary and the Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence. Those projects are in the design and development stages.
The AECOM engineering firm, on behalf of the Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments, conducted a study to identify the various Safe Routes to Schools projects for metro area cities.
The city reviewed the recommendations and selected Lincoln, since it would have the greatest impact based on the collected data.