Serving the Goreville & Lake of Egypt areas since 1977

 

Construction started on Safe Routes paths

Posted May 23, 2013 by Joe Rehana in Community
Operating engineer Randall Burke, left, of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 318, removes the sidewalk on South Broadway and East Collins St. while E.T. Simonds' laborer Jack Skelcher, in orange vest, of Laborers' International Union of North America Local 773, helps E.T. Simonds' Bill Gamber to set up fencing Tuesday Morning in Goreville.  The construction is part of a Safe Routes to School project that will add crosswalks and handicap accessibility to the sidewalks of downtown Goreville as well as construct a new route between the school and the Village Park.

Operating engineer Randall Burke, left, of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 318, removes the sidewalk on South Broadway and East Collins St. while E.T. Simonds’ laborer Jack Skelcher, in orange vest, of Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 773, helps E.T. Simonds’ Bill Gamber to set up fencing Tuesday Morning in Goreville. The construction is part of a Safe Routes to School project that will add crosswalks and handicap accessibility to the sidewalks of downtown Goreville as well as construct a new route between the school and the Village Park.

Construction on the long-awaited Safe Routes to School sidewalk began last week with crews from E.T. Simonds Construction Company preparing ground for concrete pours expected to take place over the coming weeks.

The project is expected to be near completion by the Fourth of July holiday, said E.T. Simonds’ Bill Gamber.

“I am thrilled to see the project finally begin and I am looking forward to seeing the end product of many years of work to try to make our community safer for our children,” Dr. Steve Webb, superintendent of Goreville Community Unit School District #1 said.

Goreville Community Unit School District #1 was awarded $210,000 by the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program in 2009 through grants written by Webb.  The program allows for improvement and construction of infrastructure to enable and encourage local students to walk and bike to school and school activities, Webb said.

Webb said some delays in starting the project were caused by state and federal regulations requiring a state bid, additional permits and environmental studies.

Construction began recently on a new path that will create "safe" and "easier" access to Goreville Village Park from Goreville Schools.

Construction began recently on a new path that will create “safe” and “easier” access to Goreville Village Park from Goreville Schools.

The project also found a bit of debate when still in its planning and Goreville resident Juanita Broyles submitted a letter of concern at a May 7, 2012 Goreville Village Board meeting.  Broyles listed septic tank damage, depth of fill, loss of privacy and the decrease in property value due to increased traffic near her home as primary concerns against the construction as it was currently designed.

The construction of a new sidewalk that will “better” connect Goreville Schools with the Village Park was given extra consideration and railing added to the design to allow for Broyles’ concerns.  The path runs alongside a creek bed near Broyles’ house, but remains entirely on Village property.

A rough draft of the new path that will connect W. Collins St. with W. Main St. helping to create a "safer" and "easier" access for Goreville Schools' students to get to the park.  ~ Screen shot of Google Maps

A rough draft of the new path that will connect W. Collins St. with W. Main St. helping to create a “safer” and “easier” access for Goreville Schools’ students to get to the park. ~ Screen shot of Google Maps

Sidewalks throughout town are also having wheelchair access constructed as well as ramps built on Broadway Avenue’s sidewalks to deal with the difference in elevation between them and the street.  Crosswalks and warning lights are also included in the plans.

“We have been working with our local officials and IDOT for several years now to show them that the growth in our village and schools and the increase in traffic the growth has caused is a major concern for the safety of our children,” Webb said in a 2009 press release after the town was awarded the grant.  “This grant will go a long way in providing a safer environment for our children to live and grow.”