MD Finishes Paving the Way Into Annapolis
After six months of construction, nearly two miles of continuous sidewalks along the outer West Street corridor have been completed.
Nancy Patterson used to loathe traveling along West Street's outer corridor in Annapolis.
"I used to get stuck and need someone to come help me," Patterson said. "I used to feel trapped."
Patterson uses a wheelchair and the old, crumbling sidewalks that stretched from Westgate Circle to Solomons Island Road created a series of obstacles. She struggled to get up and down curbs that lacked ramps and wheeled into the street for long sections where there was no sidewalk.
"It really was life threatening," Patterson said.
Now she's free to visit her parents at Park Place or stop at the Annapolis Area Library thanks to a Maryland's State Highway Administration (SHA) project that paved 1.8 miles of new sidewalks along West Street.
The SHA spent six months and $1.8 million to bring the sidewalks into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. That meant widening walkways to at least five feet, installing curb ramps, adding 12 crosswalks, relocating fire hydrants, utility poles and constructing sidewalk “bump outs” to provide a safe path around obstacles that could not be relocated.
"I'm proud to say we finished on budget and ahead of schedule," said SHA Administrator Melinda Peters. "A project like this is a model example of how to get things done."
To complete the project, Annapolis and the state worked with more than 140 property owners along West Street. Their compliance on issues like retaining walls, construction times and right-of-way agreements made it possible for the sidewalks to be finished before winter.
Mayor Josh Cohen took a moment at the formal ribbon cutting for the new sidewalks on Monday to thank all the construction crews.
When people living at 1901 West asked for night construction to stop, it stopped, Cohen said. When Paul's Homewood Cafe asked for the floodlights to face away from its windows, crews moved the lights.
"During six months of construction we received a total of zero complaints," said SHA engineer Lee Starkloff.
He hopes increased access along the "gateway to downtown Annapolis" will connect more people to local businesses and facilities. Patterson said, she now enjoys strolling up and down West Street.
"Now I can do what I want," Patterson said. "Now nothing is stopping me."