If you’ve been driving down Highway 12 over the past week, you probably have noticed the workers in yellow reflector jackets surveying the sidewalks.
This yellow vested workforce is working on behalf of the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) on a proposed project to update sidewalks from Airport Road to 10th Street North on either side of US Highway 12.
According to a NDDOT press release, the work to build the new sidewalks may include the installation of retaining walls, pedestrian railings, and the replacement of sidewalks. Each street corner along Highway 12 will also get a new ADA ramp.
This week, WSB engineering, in conjunction with the NDDOT, held a public input meeting at the Armory to not only discuss how the public will be affected by the proposed project but also to take suggestions from the community on how best to complete the project without interfering with the public and landowners.
According to WSB Project Engineer Nate Wingerter, the first step of the ND Streets Project is to make Hettinger’s sidewalks, ramps, driveways, and crosswalks ADA compliant.
“This is about the Americans with Disabilities Act… [Sidewalks] need to be flat enough for people to walk on them who are disabled,” said a WSB engineer, “That’s what all the standards in ADA are about, is trying to make it so that people who aren’t as healthy can easily walk and access all the services [available].”
To accomplish this goal, the sidewalks will be made to be four feet wide and have a flat enough slope to make them wheel chair accessible.
Wingerter said that the goal of the project is to only update the streets that need to be changed. Even still, a majority of sidewalks along Highway 12 will either by replaced or new sidewalks will be installed.
At the meeting, people were encouraged to address points of concern for the project.
“…Part of what we are hoping for out of the public input meeting is to identify [any issues]… We want to catch that now,” said Wingerter. “We want to fix and accommodate any of the things that you think will come up.”
Mayor Shawn Hanna said that, for the most part, he is excited at the possibility of Hettinger getting new and updated sidewalks.
“I’m excited for the potential of a safe sidewalk through town,” said Mayor Hanna. “And I’m glad that people with disabilities will have more access to our businesses and our town.”
The entire cost of the project will total an estimated 1.3 million dollars. The cost of the project is being split between federal, state and local governments.
The WSB presentation cited that the project will cost the City of Hettinger an estimated $50,000. The rest of the cost will be allocated between the Federal and State governments.
During the presentation, Wingerter stated that the construction of the new sidewalks will take place during the construction months of 2020 and that the NDDOT has tentative hopes to have the project completed by the end of 2020.