Dirt trails have been worn along the road where people have frequently walked.
“Pedestrians, I do see them crossing once in a while and they’re risking their lives doing so,” Bumbalough said. “We want to make it more walkable and safer for them.”
The YMCA has taken safety precautions because of the lack of sidewalks, Champaign Family YMCA CEO Paul Waldsmith said.
“We don’t have children enrolled in programs walking out onto 36 at this point in time,” he said.
He supports the upgrades, he said, because he believes they’ll get more people to choose to walk places.
“Anything that we can do as a community to increase the likelihood that people are going to increase their physical activity is something that we’re likely going to support,” he said.
The stretch of U.S. 36 has also been a problem for flooding, Bumbalough said. In the past, local apartment buildings and the basement of the hospital have been flooded.
The new storm drains should address the problem, he said.
Funding for the project will come from the Ohio Department of Transportation and Ohio Public Works Commission. The city will match about $291,000, Bumbalough said.
Much of the city money could come from a new storm water utility that residents will begin to pay in April, he said.
J & J Schlaegel Inc. was awarded the project and hopes to begin construction this month. It’s estimated that it will take about five months to complete the project, Bumbalough said.
Residents could see a detour in the area during the project, he said. The contractor is allowed to use a 90-day detour to install utility lines. The detour will be open to local traffic only.
By the numbers
$1.3 million: Cost of improvements to U.S. 36
$291,000: City of Urbana share of the costs to improve U.S. 36
10,000: Cars passing through that stretch of road daily
The Springfield News-Sun digs into important public safety issues, including recent stories on improvements U.S. 68 in Clark County and efforts to widen Interstate 70.