Contracts awarded for Hermitage sidewalk

The City Council awarded two contracts Thursday that city engineer Bill Batson said should get the work started.

"This will go from Royal Avenue to the overpass" over Railroad Avenue, he said.

The City Council has been discussing a sidewalk along Hermitage Drive for several years. When the Railroad Avenue bridge was replaced with a new overpass about five years ago, a sidewalk from it to near Helton Drive was built. It serves a day care center and two apartment complexes where school buses stop.

A $153,535 construction contract was awarded to Cypress Contracting, and a $23,030 engineering contract was awarded to White, Lynn, Collins and Associates for the work.

Batson said the contract allows 70 working days to complete the sidewalk. After engineering work is finished, construction will begin, probably in mid-spring.

Florence received money for the sidewalk through the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (ATRIP), which uses federal highway money to help pay for state work. Batson said the ATRIP money will pay for 80 percent of the cost, and the city will pay 20 percent.

"This is going to be a good-looking project," he said.

The sidewalk will run along the west side of Hermitage Drive in front of a church and downhill toward Royal Avenue. It will terminate across the street from Braly Municipal Stadium. A new middle school is under construction next to the stadium.

Hermitage Drive becomes crowded with parked vehicles during Florence High School and University of North Alabama football games. Safety before and after games, as well as when the middle school is in session, has been a concern for city and school officials. They say the sidewalk should make the area safer for pedestrians.

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