MoDOT in early stage of sidewalk project
Main Street sidewalks must become compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act
The Missouri Department of Transportation was on hand in Cassville on Oct. 29 to discuss its upcoming sidewalks project for Main Street.
The project, in its infancy stages, would aim to bring the sidewalks under MoDOT control to be compliant with the Americans for Disabilities Act.
The project has been split up into two sections, from 7th Street to 10th Street, and from 10th Street to 17th Street.
"All over the country, sidewalks do not meet ADA standards over the past 50 years, and a lawsuit has forced the Federal Highway Administration to fix them," said Dan Salisbury, assistant district engineer with MoDOT. "They've then leaned on the states to fix them, and they set all the rules and if the state does not comply by the federal deadline, they can withhold funds to use, and that would be about 80 percent of our project funds."
Salisbury said the initial plan for Cassville is to remove and replace, or renovate, existing sidewalks in the city, but MoDOT does not have a final plan in place yet. Curb ramps must be installed, and faults in the sidewalks more than 1/4-inch have to be repaired.
In some cases, especially in downtown Cassville, the department's right of way may extend up to a few inches from the doors of businesses, or right up to the doors. Salisbury said there may have to be some agreements with businesses to allow for easements on private property for the work to be completed.
Salisbury said there is no budget set yet for the project, and the earliest it could begin is in 2016.
"MoDOT funding has been tapering down to the point that a lot of the big projects we've been doing over the past few years are just not affordable," he said.
Some concerns raised to Salisbury about the project included the curbs' height compared to the roadway, as local business owners are hoping to downsize the step up onto the sidewalk for the safety of those traveling on foot.
"If it's feasible, we'd like to eliminate the step up into a building," Salisbury said. "Generally, we've torn out sidewalks and rebuilt them instead of just resurfacing them."
There is already an agreement between the city and MoDOT for the project's northern half, and Salisbury is hoping the pair can make another agreement on the southern half, hoping the city will take ownership of the sidewalks after the project's completion.
Bill Shiveley, mayor of Cassville, said he would approach the city council about such an agreement, as it would allow the city to do more things with the sidewalks, such as plant trees.
"We need to get out of the sidewalk business and focus on roads and bridges," Salisbury said.
With information received last week, Salisbury said MoDOT plans to do more work on the design and iron out the finer details, then will return to Cassville with a more complete plan. Salisbury said he could not give a timeframe of when that might occur.
"I don't want to set a time frame for us returning, but we'll want to do it as fast as we can," he said. "I don't want to make any commitment we can't fulfill."