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Sidewalking through Jemison

The City of Jemison’s long awaited sidewalk project is underway. Thursday, workers were preparing the right-of-way along U.S. Highway 31 for construction of the new sidewalks.

The sidewalks will run from just south of Jemison Middle School to Dr. Jay Patel’s office, and from Highway 31 to the railroad tracks on Church Street.

“When this project is over, we will have safe sidewalks away from Highway 31 for pedestrians to walk in the business area,” Jemison Mayor Eddie Reed said. “Those sidewalks will provide not only safety but also beautification for our city.”

City leaders began work on the project in 2005. Later, in 2006, the Federal Highway Administration and the state approved a grant totaling nearly $245,000. This involved clearing right-of-way and environmental issues with the state.

Hudman Construction, based in Opelika, was awarded the low bid at $118,663.50. Because the bid amount was lower than expected, the city will have to return a portion of the grant money, city clerk Mary Ellison said.

The city was required to provide matching funds in the amount of $61,241, Ellison added.

When asked about the project’s timeframe, Reed said the contract was for 90 days. The speed of the work will depend on the weather, he indicated. Motorists will face reduced speed limits in the area while the work takes place, due to the proximity of workers to the highway.

The mayor has said in the past that Jemison will continue to seek grants for sidewalks in other areas of the city.