UPDATE: City council decides not to apply for grant for intersec - KXXV Central Texas News Now

UPDATE: City council decides not to apply for grant for intersection improvements

Source: KXXV Source: KXXV

On Monday night, the Hewitt City council decided not to apply for a Texas Department of Transportation grant next month.

The funds for this grant would have been used for safety improvements to the intersection of Hewitt Drive and Panther Way. In order to apply for the Transportation Alternatives Set Aside Program, the city was required to submit an initial engineering study that a company had quoted the city for $14,000.

City Manager Adam Miles said due to the uncertainty involved with the construction costs, the city council did not approve the agreement with the engineering company for the initial study. However, Miles said the City of Hewitt is still interested in improvements at that intersection to make the area safer for students who walk to and from Midway Middle School.

"[We are] trying to minimize opportunities for accidents to happen. Trying to make it a safe place to cross for kids to cross and go to school because that is kind of what it is all about,” Hewitt City Manager Adam Miles said.

He added currently students don’t have sidewalks near the intersection of Hewitt Drive and Panther Way.

"One side they're just standing in grass right now and have nowhere really to cross to,” Miles said.

The proposed project that the city was going to submit for a grant proposal, included sidewalks along Panther Way next to the National United Bank to connect to an existing Waco sidewalk. The other segment, would be along Hewitt Drive in front of Midway Middle School. In addition, another sidewalk would go from Panther Way toward the school parking lot.

It would also include improving the signal system, striping the pavement and adding landings to allow kids to stand on the side of the road.

"Getting a safe place for kids. Make sure they're not in the roadway. Have a place where they can stand and wait for a signal to allow them to cross,” Miles said.

In 2015, a Midway ISD crossing guard was injured after being struck by a vehicle at that same intersection.

Linda Weaver who has lived in Hewitt for almost 30 years said the current conditions can lead to potential accidents.

"There's always a potential of an accident or somebody being hurt,” Weaver said.

She refers to the traffic on Hewitt Drive as heavy, which she said can be concerning because of the amount of children who walk to and from school.

"In regards to children getting out of school, it's dangerous. The crosswalk is very difficult in the morning,” Weaver said. "We could definitely benefit from sidewalks."

In the meantime, the city is planning to install a couple of signs flashing in that area soon, as a short-term improvement. 

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