Money from Oak Ridge’s four traffic camera systems is being used to build five new sections of sidewalk along South Illinois and Jefferson avenues.
The city is using roughly $217,000 from a special programs fund set up for the traffic camera money to build the sidewalks and install crosswalks, pavement markings, and pedestrian push buttons at traffic lights, Oak Ridge City Engineer Steve Byrd said.
The Oak Ridge City Council approved the work in April.
Work started about June 1 and should be complete by Aug. 1, Byrd said.
Most of the projects were included in a bicycle and pedestrian plan approved by City Council in April 2011, Byrd said.
The roughly 1,700 feet of new sidewalks includes sections in front of Comfort Inn on Rutgers Avenue, two strips where South Illinois Avenue intersects with Tuskegee Drive and Scarboro Road, and a small 120-foot section on Jefferson Avenue at Oak Ridge Turnpike.
The longest new sidewalk is in front of DoubleTree Hotel on South Illinois Avenue. It’s 580 feet long, Byrd said.
The Oak Ridge Pedestrian Improvement Project will also include a change in the right-hand turn lane for eastbound drivers on Oak Ridge Turnpike at South Illinois Avenue.
That turn lane is now “free flowing,” meaning drivers don’t have to stop. But it has a very short acceleration lane, and drivers turning right there will soon be required to stop before turning right there—or else wait for the green light, Byrd said.
There will also be a raised “refuge island” for pedestrians at the northeast corner of the intersection, Byrd said.
Oak Ridge’s four traffic camera systems are installed on North Illinois Avenue at Robertsville Road, on Robertsville Road in front of Willow Brook Elementary School, and on Oak Ridge Turnpike in front of the high school and at New York Avenue. The cameras began operating in the summer of 2009.