The Tennessee Department of Transportation, along with State Senator Ed Jackson, announced last week that the city of Jackson will receive a $ 950,000 Multimodal Access Grant from TDOT, which will fund “crosswalks at high visibility ‘and pedestrian crossing signals, as well as ensuring accessibility to both, along State Route 20 at the intersection of North Parkway and Highland.
“I appreciate TDOT for recognizing the local need and commend our local officials who helped secure a successful grant application,” Jackson said in a statement from his office.
The grant, which the city applied for last year, will be “the first step” to “improve connectivity,” according to Jackson City Mayor Scott Conger.
“This is the first step in connectivity – you just need to improve and increase connectivity in Jackson and manage pedestrian access,” Conger said. “There is an apartment complex there, and so those who don’t have a car – or who have to wait on the bus – can go to the health service, which is a public service, or to the grocery shopping and obtaining food with a safe means of travel. “
The grant is 95/5, which means the city will pay $ 50,000 on top of the grant coverage of $ 950,000.
“(The subsidy) can only be used on national roads,” Conger explained. “You can’t do it on Main Street, it has to be on a national highway, which is why we chose North Parkway. It will connect sidewalks and redesign the intersection of North Parkway and Highland. “
The plan includes 1,300 feet of new sidewalk, as well as four new pedestrian signals and eight crosswalks proposed to “help pedestrians cross 5 to 6 lanes of traffic.” All of these features will have the sidewalk ramp updates necessary to achieve current ADA compliance.
“It goes all the way to Kroger from the Department of Health,” he said. “And (with ADA compliance), it will be a bit like the interchange in front of The Lift Center.”
Conger says this project will only be the first step in increasing connectivity throughout the city.
“The grant cycle will reopen in November and we will be applying for what I call ‘phase one’ of the Highland connection, which will be from Skyline to Parkway along Highland,” he said. “So the first phase will go from Skyline to First Baptist (Church). “
The process, according to Conger, will remain the same: apply for the 95/5 twinning grant, which will require the city to spend $ 50,000, with a twinning of $ 950,000.
“Once we start doing that, it will reopen next year and we will apply for ‘phase two’, and we will connect Skyline to Parkway, along those national highways,” he said.
Conger added that there is no timetable for the construction yet.
“We should be receiving communications from the multimodal office in the coming weeks,” he said. “Once they give us the money, we can go out and tender for the job. And once that does start, it will probably take a year and a half for it to be all over. “
The financing of the project, as well as the project itself, are distinct from recently announced and planned citywide paving improvements, although Conger says it all points to the same goal.
“One of the first steps in creating better roads is to provide safer sidewalks and crosswalks for our pedestrians,” he said in a statement from his office. “This area has been in need of attention for a long time, and I am happy that we are able to provide our community with safe pedestrian access.
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