Archive for Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sidewalk work for program set to get under way Monday

Crossing guard Pam Jeannin stops traffic so students and their families can cross Fourth Street as they head to Tonganoxie Elementary School. Tuesday was the first day of school for Tonganoxie elementary and middle school students. Freshmen attended orientation day and will start classes with the rest of their high school mates on Wednesday

Crossing guard Pam Jeannin stops traffic so students and their families can cross Fourth Street as they head to Tonganoxie Elementary School. Tuesday was the first day of school for Tonganoxie elementary and middle school students. Freshmen attended orientation day and will start classes with the rest of their high school mates on Wednesday

September 30, 2009

Tonganoxie appears to be on its way to making it safer for kids to walk or bike to school.

Construction work on four new sidewalks that are part of the Safe Routes to School program will begin Monday, said Kimberly Qualls, spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Transportation.

“Work will take place primarily around the elementary school, though there will be some work near the middle school as well,” Qualls said.

King’s Construction Company of Oskaloosa will start the nearly $200,000 project Oct. 5, weather permitting.

Qualls said the construction would include the installation of sidewalks, crosswalks, sidewalk ramps, speed humps, and retaining walls along arterial roads in Tonganoxie.

King’s Construction has a 45-working-day contract to complete the project, which puts the completion date in December. Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator, and Steve Petrehn, Walking School Bus Regional Coordinator for Bridging the Gap, think it will be done much sooner than that.

“I am going to follow the construction closely and hope to have a big walk to school day event to the elementary school as soon as possible after construction with invited dignitaries and a ribbon cutting,” Petrehn wrote in an e-mail.

On Sept. 21, Bard attended a preconstruction meeting in which the sidewalk improvements were prioritized. Second Street improvements will be followed by improvements to Washington Street, speed tables on Second and Fourth streets, and lastly Third Street.

Bard said Third Street work would be done in two phases. Phase I will be Third Street east of Tonganoxie Elementary School and phase II will be west of the school.

Qualls said the construction would have a minimal impact on traffic, “except for the construction of the speed humps, which will require closure of the local roadway half at a time for the concrete pour on the speed humps.”

The city of Tonganoxie received a $250,000 Safe Routes to School grant to fund the construction of new sidewalks and to fund educational programs to teach local children how to properly walk and ride their bikes to school.

In March, the city contracted with Bridging the Gap for $12,500 to provide support for the educational side of the SRTS grant money. Its contract cost came out of the grant.

As part of International Walk to School Month in October, Bridging the Gap will have a walk to school day Oct. 8. Students will walk from Tonganoxie Water Park down Pleasant Street to TMS.

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