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Work starts on Safe Routes to School project in Macomb

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MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) — Changes are underway to make sure students in Macomb stay safe on their walk to and from school.

Right now, students are forced to walk in the street to cross a busy road. But, a new project hopes to change that.

A busy road sits between students and the Macomb Junior-Senior High School.

"That's an extraordinarily busy street," Macomb resident Yale Sadman said.

Grant Street, in front of the Macarthur Early Childhood Center, has no sidewalks on one side and the only way up to the high school and junior high is by stairs.

It's a situation that residents who live down the street said makes for a dangerous commute to school.

"There are always lots of children either walking or bicycling," Sadman said.

Construction will soon change that.

Macomb Public Works Director Alice Ohrtmann said through the Safe Routes to School Program, the city was awarded 200,000 dollars to make it safer.

"You can see this area behind us," Ohrtmann said. "We're going to put a sidewalk there as well, so that will get them over to Macarthur Street and now we've got safe access for the kids all along Grant."

Ohrtmann said it goes beyond adding sidewalks. She said they're also making it more handicap accessible and adding a number of safety features.

"We're adding a ramp that's ADA accessible," Ohrtmann said. "We're adding a crosswalk across Grant that has a refuse for the kids crossing and signals so they can push a button, the lights will light and people will stop."

It's a project that gives residents down the road comfort.

"We have experience with children having to go to school," Sadman said. "That's excellent because there was nothing before and now they have something."

Ohrtmann said the overall cost of the project is about 235,000 dollars.

She said the city will pay for the additional 35,000 dollars, out of the general fund.

She said they plan to complete the project by mid-August, before students return to school.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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