Safety grant seeks to protect Russellville students

RUSSELLVILLE — Construction is underway to improve the safety of Cole County R-1 pedestrian students.

Russellville received one of 16 Safe Routes to School grants from the Missouri Department of Transportation in 2011.

The nearly $250,000 will replace some less than adequate sidewalks and curbs, create new ones along selected residential streets, and install warning signals at Route C, which most of the average 50 walkers or cyclists must cross to reach the elementary/middle school.

Crossing guards assist students at Marion, Smith and Simpson streets.

But the city does not have a police department to enforce the 35 miles-an-hour speed limit, often exceeded by motorists along Route C, the city’s application said.

A parent survey reinforced that the speed and frequency of traffic along Route C was a main concern.

Flasher cabinets with timers will be installed on Route C at Marion and at Hillcrest streets.

Replacement sidewalks will be installed on Smith and Simpson streets.

And Grace Street improvements will help provide connectivity to the existing sidewalk system.

The new construction also will add Americans with Disability Act compliance.

Construction began this summer and should be completed before winter.

School opened in August with a new sidewalk in front of the elementary building, where it had become unsafe to walk, said Superintendent Jerry Hobbs.

“The sidewalk surface had pits and broken chunks in it that people could possibly trip on,” Hobbs said.


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