Carroll County kicks in funding for sidewalk project in Eldersburg with aim to create safer paths to schools – Baltimore Sun

Sidewalk construction along Johnsville Road in Eldersburg is set to begin this month in an effort to safely connect pedestrians from area schools to residential neighborhoods and Route 32.

Most of the design and construction costs — 80% — will be funded by the Safe Routes to School program administered by the Maryland Department of Transportation. The county is responsible for the remaining 20%. As a result, last week, Carroll County commissioners approved a transfer of $55,000 from unallocated public works funds to the project.

John Bowers, chief of the county’s Bureau of Building Construction, said the funds would cover construction of a sidewalk along Johnsville Road connecting Eldersburg Elementary School, Liberty High School, residential neighborhoods and the commercial corridor along Route 32 (Sykesville Road) via Bartholow Road.

Additionally, Bowers requested $48,560 in contingency funding for potential change orders. All change orders approved by MDOT during construction will be reimbursed 80% by the Safe Routes to School program, he said.

Safe Routes to School is a nationwide program that aims to improve safety for students and encourage children to walk and bike to school.

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Contractor J.Villa Construction of Jessup is scheduled to begin construction this month. In accordance with MDOT requirements, the county is required to provide third party on-site construction testing and inspections. A consultant has proposed $6,440 for those services, which are not covered by grant funding.

“There will be testing of different construction materials like concrete and stone and landscaping materials like black top. … Those tests are made in a field and then materials are sent to a lab who performs in-house testing as well,” Bowers said.

Bowers said once the Eldersburg project is complete the next Safe Routes to School project in the county will be sidewalk construction on Washington Road in front of Westminster High School.

“Staying on top of these is very important,” said Commissioner President Ed Rothstein, a Republican representing District 5.

“We’ve been chipping away at these since I’ve been in office and I do appreciate that it does keep moving forward every year,” Commissioner Dennis Frazier, a District 3 Republican, said. “Very slowly, but it is moving forward and that’s the important part.”

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