A project to improve sidewalks and signs near the Licking Heights school campus on Summit Road has been in the works for nearly four years, said Licking Heights Board of Education member Richard Wand.
"We've been working on this for a long, long time," he said. "It'll be very exciting when we get it done."
According to an Ohio Department of Transportation press release, a Safe Routes to School project is set to begin Monday, Oct. 7, in Pataskala on Summit Road between East Broad Street and Cleveland Road, near South Elementary and Central Middle school.
This Safe Routes to School project includes reconstructing existing sidewalks and adding new sidewalks as well as the addition of crosswalks in the project area.
Ohio's Safe Routes to School Program is designed to assist communities in developing and implementing projects and programs that encourage and enable children in grades K-8, including those with disabilities, to walk or bike to school safely.
"Our goal with these projects is to help communities improve safety," said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. "We believe the Safe Routes to School program is a great way to encourage safer behavior by working with local communities and their kids."
The grants funding ODOT's statewide Safe Routes to School Program are used to help communities improve safety for school children by building or improving sidewalks and crosswalks. The program also provides more education and encouragement to help children learn how to be safe when walking or bicycling to school.
The contractor for this $166,393 project is Columbus Asphalt Paving and the completion date is projected to be Dec. 15.
Wand said Summit Road lacks not only sidewalks for students, but also has insufficient signs alerting motorists.
He believes the project specifically includes flashing lights along Summit to warn motorists of restricted speeds during school hours.
"Right now on Summit Road, there are hardly any sidewalks or anything to show that it's a school zone," said Wand.
"Certainly this will be a safe walking route," said Pataskala City Administrator Tim Boland.
"It will include a lot of basic elements that have been lacking."
Boland gave assurance there would be new and improved sidewalks and signage along the right of way, as well as improved crosswalk markings on Summit Road.