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Local

Safe Routes to School enters design phase

DIXON – Designs are in the works for traffic safety improvements around Reagan Middle School, a project that will likely take 2 years or so to come together.

In April, the city won a $200,000 grant from the federal Safe Routes to School program, which reimburses projects that aim to make areas more walk- or bike-friendly for students going to and from school, and funds are administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The improvements will include new flashing crossing and speed signs as well as upgraded street markings and sidewalk repairs along Division Street, South Galena Avenue and other nearby roads. The signs will flash during times when students are present.

Gaps in the sidewalk on popular school routes will be filled in, and speed radar signs and video cameras along South Galena Avenue will be installed.

Last week, the City Council approved a contract for Fehr Graham Engineering and Environmental to do the design work for $66,500.

The city budgeted $285,000 for the project, funded by the grant and $85,000 coming from infrastructure funds.

Public Works Director Matt Heckman said they’re in the early planning process for the work, and they’re working closely with IDOT, which will coordinate with the Federal Highway Administration.

The grant requirements make the project planning more complex, and the earliest construction can begin is likely summer 2021, he said.

In addition to the $200,000 for infrastructure-related improvements, the city also received a $10,500 grant to go toward non-infrastructure work, including a crossing guard training program, educational materials, a community training workshop and data gathering.

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