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|New sidewalks coming soon in West Monroe|
Pedestrians traveling along West Monroe's North 7th Street will soon have access to safer walking thanks to a state Dept. of Transportation program to add sidewalks along state roads.
Meeting at its regular meeting Tuesday night, the West Monroe Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to approve the project.
Mayor Dave Norris said DOTD officials selected a Michigan construction firm to complete the $248,000 project to install walkways along North 7th from McMillan Road past West Monroe High School. The project also includes a strip of sidewalk in front of City Hall, a portion along Parkwood Drive and portions along Regency Drive as well.
"This is going to be a great project," Norris said. "We have a lot of people who talk about connecting things up with sidewalks so that people can walk."
Norris told aldermen the sidewalks would help improve safety of pedestrians along busy roads.
Since West Monroe High School is situated across North 7th Street from several residential areas, Norris said the sidewalks would allow safer access to the high school.
"It will be good for kids who walk to school to have a sidewalk available at that traffic light," Norris said.
Aldermen also approved another infrastructure project during Tuesday's meeting.
That project entails work to rehabilitate a collapsed sewer line running beneath South 5th Street from Stella Street to Natchitoches Street.
Norris said the $250,000 project is critical to the continued function of sewers in that area.
"This is a major sewer line running in front of the old fire station," Norris said. "It's in desperate need of rehabilitation."
During the past few years, the sewer ling along South 5th Street has seen substantial deterioration, including several cave-ins and fresh-water incursions, Norris said.
On another front, the board of aldermen approved a cooperative endeavor agreement among area fire departments, which could mean better arson investigations and lower investigation cost thanks to resource sharing among departments.
The agreement outlines methods and procedures for sharing investigative responsibilities following incidents of suspected arson. It involves West Monroe Fire Department, Ouachita Parish Fire Department, Ruston Fire Department, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and U.S. Marshall Service.
"This will give some collective expertise to different jurisdictions when they suspect the cause of the fire is arson," Norris said. "This way, not everyone will have to hire as many investigators."
"It will save the taxpayers money and will be beneficial to the communities that take part in the services," Norris said.