Stretch of Tates Creek to get sidewalks next month, official says

tharrison@herald-leader.comJuly 19, 2013 

Financing led to delays in putting sidewalks on a portion of Tates Creek Road, but city officials say those issues were resolved and construction should begin in the next month.

The sidewalks will be added to a 1.6 mile stretch of Tates Creek Road between Montclair Drive and Lakewood Drive to the Lansdowne Shoppes, at Dove Run Road, said Derek Paulsen, commissioner of planning, preservation and development. Paulsen said putting sidewalks on Tates Creek — a topic of discussion for more than five years — will make it easier for pedestrians to get around.

Paulsen said the original bid for construction — $2,125,241 — was over budget. The bid the city accepted from Bluegrass Contracting Corporation is $1,671,416.

The project will be paid for with municipal aid funds, Paulsen said.

"We have the money to move forward," he said.

A pre-construction meeting is supposed to be held soon to discuss the details before construction begins, although some small utilities changes have been made, such as moving fire hydrants and trimming back honeysuckle bushes.

"We hope to have everything moving quickly," Paulsen said. "We hope to start in the next month."

He said this sidewalk project will bring this road up to the level of other roads in Lexington, and it's something that needs to be done to make it safer.

"It already is a pretty heavily traveled foot path," Paulsen said.

Paulsen, who runs in the area, said students from the University of Kentucky regularly walk through there. While it's possible to walk through the grass, he said it's not an accessible option for people who might be in a wheelchair.

"It will definitely make it easier," he said.

Throughout the process, Paulsen said, the city encountered other financial challenges. For example, the city had to pay landowners for the right of way.

Jim Wray, engineering technician principal for the city, said to create wide enough sidewalks in certain spots, agreements from private property owners were required to finalize the project. That cost was not in the original budget in 2008, Paulsen said. The original budget was $1,014,000, with 80 percent coming from the state and 20 from the city. The municipal aid funds will make up the difference between the original budget and the accepted bid.

Paulsen said the city has spent about $313,659 on right of way, engineering and signalization associated with the project.

"This has reduced the amount of money remaining for the construction of the sidewalks," he said.

Fifth District Urban County Councilman Bill Farmer, Jr. said there are a number of people interested in using Tates Creek Road to walk or bike places like the Arboretum, Chevy Chase and Lansdowne Shoppes.

"It's going to be a great way for people to connect — person to person, neighborhood to neighborhood," Farmer said of the sidewalks.

Farmer, whose district is on the east side of the road, said not having sidewalks was a problem years ago when his son was younger.

"It was hard to get from my home to the Arboretum," he said.

Sidewalks will help to weave together different forms of transportation, and allow people to move away from a single dependency on cars, Farmer said.

"This gives them the opportunity to walk somewhere, to jog, to run somewhere," he said.

He also said this is going to make a lot of people happy. "There's just a lot of excitement about it. It's a great thing for the city."

Taylor Harrison: (859) 231-1324. Twitter: @heraldleader

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