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Siloam Springs recently was chosen by the Arkansas Department of Transportation to receive a grant that will be used to construct new sidewalks on North Hico Street, a transportation department official said.

The sidewalks will be about 1,500 feet in length and 10 feet wide and will be located on the section of North Hico Street that is between Cheri Whitlock Drive and Washington Street, said Daniel Siskowski, staff program manager for the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The city has not broken ground on the project, but a construction bid has been received, said Holland Hayden, city communications officer.

The award is also a matching grant and requires that the city pay for 25 percent of the project, or $38,750, and federal funds will pay for the remainder, Siskowski said. Siloam Springs was one of a number of cities in the state to receive monies for such a project, which were issued as a result of two annual initiatives undertaken by the department called the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and the Recreational Trails Program (RTP).

Similar programs exist in every state under a different name and were originally created because the transportation departments of most states typically spend the majority of their funding on state highways, Siskowski said. For that reason, the federal government wanted to make an effort to help cities offer alternative methods of transportation to non-drivers.

The two programs differ in that RTP projects are for recreational trails, such as hiking trails or bike paths, while TAP projects - which is the case for Siloam Springs - are intended for transportation purposes, Siskowski said. The application process entails the presentation of project ideas to the department, along with necessary details such as design plans and estimated cost.

After these considerations are taken into account, the projects are then ranked in order of priority and decided on by an advisory committee made up of a diverse group of people who represent organizations ranging from the Arkansas Department of Health, to the Arkansas Municipal League to the Federal Highway Administration. This year, the department awarded $8.1 million to cities statewide to complete 30 TAP projects $1.6 million for 16 RTP projects; Siskowski also gave an explanation for that disparity.

"Everyone likes sidewalks," he said. "Outdoor trails are nice, but it seems like no matter where you go everyone seems to want sidewalks."

General News on 12/05/2018

Print Headline: New sidewalks planned for North Hico Street

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