By Connor Clark
Bath-DeWitt Connection staff reporter
Sidewalk construction has begun on Old US. Route 27 in-between Northcrest Road and Sheridan Road. This section of sidewalk improvement has been part of a much larger effort in DeWitt Township to make walking safer for pedestrians.
Back on March 23, the township’s Board of Trustees approved a deal of about $296,000, in order to repair road cracks and potholes in areas such as Howe Road and Cedar Street. The township also approved plans to make a 10-foot-wide pathway and 5-foot-wide sidewalk addition that will stretch 1.6 miles long. The sideway will run along the west side of Old US. Route 27, while the pathway will run along the east side, according to township records.
This pathway and sidewalk alone will cost and additional $866,000. The Michigan Department of Transportation has decided to grant $400,000 to help assist the project. Also, a special assessment from property owners in DeWitt Township will pay an additional $45,000. The rest of the money will come out of the township’s general fund.
The date of completion for the sidewalk is currently set for Nov. 15. So far, the sidewalk has been completed from Northcrest Road to Meadowlawn Avenue which includes businesses such as, Reno’s North Sports Bar & Grill and American Towing, Inc.
Kim Anderson works at the front desk of American Towing, Inc. She has been keeping a close watch on the new sidewalk that is being placed outside of her workplace.
“It [the construction] has been a big pain in the butt, but they [construction workers] have been very accommodating,” Anderson said. “They have been out here every day to try and get the sidewalk done.”
However, the pathway has not yet been started and there are growing doubts whether it will be completed on time. Also, there has been growing animosity with residents and business owners.
“They ran out of concrete trying to fill in the sidewalk and instead of getting another truck they just called it a day,” Dennis Kingsbury, a resident of DeWitt Township, said. “Now people can’t get their cars out because the hole for the sidewalk will bottom out their car.”
“I don’t like it because they are closing intersections to do it but there is nothing I can do about it,” president of The Indoor Grow Store, Alex Manuel, said.
Rodney Taylor, Dewitt Township’s manager, believes these improvements will be completed in time.
“A majority of the sidewalk has been completed [as of Oct. 5] and the township is very optimistic that it can be completed in the next few weeks,” Taylor said.
With an estimated population of 14,691, per US. Census, and Sheridan Road School nearby, these additions are being created because it will provide pedestrians a safe way to walk up and down the major road.
“We [DeWitt Township] have many safety concerns in the Valley Farm Park corridor,” Taylor said. “This is a high pedestrian area and we want to make sure they have safe sidewalks to travel on.”
When it is all completed, pedestrians will have a safe place to walk or ride their bikes. However, the season will soon turn into winter, and with snow being a possibility in late November, the sidewalk and pathway may not get their full use until next spring.