GALVESTON — When the school year begins on Tuesday, students attending the Galveston Elementary School will have a safer route to school.
Workers with Reith & Riley Construction are expected to complete sidewalks on Maple and Woodward streets this week.
Previously, there were no sidewalks leading to the elementary school, forcing the students to walk in the street.
“The No. 1 priority is always safety,” Barrett Bates, principal of the Galveston Elementary School, said Tuesday. “We’re happy the project is being completed and everyone has worked hard to make it happen.
“There are a lot of kids that walk to school,” he said. “This has been a couple of the years in the making; we always wanted sidewalks here.”
Bates said more sidewalks leading to the school may be built in the future.
There were times it didn’t appear the project, funded through the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School, would ever be completed.
The town was awarded a $219,393 grant in 2011, but when INDOT received bids for the project in 2012, they came in at $350,000, leaving the town to contribute approximately $120,000.
Galveston Town Council members requested INDOT to rebid the work.
The bids received earlier this year were still higher than the grant amount and the town grappled with how to come up with $100,000 to complete the project or $50,000 to repay INDOT for engineering work.
In June, INDOT announced it would pay for the entire project. The town spent $39,750 for engineering work.
“Galveston faced a decision of raising $100,000 to complete the project or repay the federal funds invested thus far,” Will Wingfield with INDOT, said. “INDOT understands how town budgets are stretched thin and wanted to ensure that the tax dollars invested were not wasted.”