There wasn’t a lot of equipment, or large construction crew,
But when ground broke on Phase 2 of the Dolores sidewalk project this week, Dolores Public Library Children’s Librarian Kathie Butler was ecstatic.
You see, Butler walks as many as 50 children a week from the Dolores Elementary School to the Library. It isn’t a long walk, but it isn’t always pleasant.
“I am very excited. It’s going to make walking my darlings from school so much easier,” Butler said.
The after-school library program starts next week, and Butler is hoping the section between 11th Street and the library on the south side of Railroad Avenue will be complete by then.
Scott Neely of Cortez’s D&L Construction was busy prepping to pour concrete for the sidewalk on Tuesday and said they will most likely pour the concrete later this week, meaning that by next week, the after-school reading groups may just have a new sidewalk to walk on.
“I’ve been hoping for this for such a long time,” Butler said.
The lack of sidewalk from 11th Street to the library meant that school children had to dodge mud puddles, rocks and even lots and lots of snow berms.
“This will make our life a whole lot easier,” Butler said.
In fact, Butler often avoided the small stretch of that walk completely.
D&L Construction, of Cortez, was awarded the bid for Phase 2 of the sidewalk project after a low bid of $198,662 in July. The project is being funded through a CDOT highway enhancement grant.
Phase 1 of the project saw sidewalks go in on the north side of Railroad Avenue several years ago.
New sidewalks will be installed on the north side of Railroad Ave from Second Street, west to the crosswalk with Joe Rowell Park. Sidewalks will also be installed on the south side of Railroad Avenue from Dolores Public Library, east, to 11th Street. Sidewalk repair and installation will take place on the south side of Railroad Avenue from Eighth Street to the post office.
In addition, drainage work will be on near the Dolores Visitor Center, which often gets flooding during a large rainstorm or snowmelt, said Dolores Interim Town Manager Lana Hancock.
Hancock also said the project will make walking from Joe Rowell Park safer.
“You can now start at the park and have sidewalk to walk on all through town,” she said.
The sidewalk work is expected to be completed by next year.
“My next hope is for a stop light at that intersection,” Butler said.
She added that drivers often blow right past her even though she is wearing a safety vest and holding a stop sign.
“I don’t let any of my kids cross until all traffic has stopped,” she said. “But I’ve almost been hit several times.”