Chuckatuck sidewalk is almost done

Published 11:05 pm Thursday, October 13, 2011

A section of sidewalk connecting has been prepared for concrete in a project designed to connect the Chuckatuck and the Oakland communities. That project is expected to be complete by this time next year.

By this time next year, the walk from Oakland to Chuckatuck should be a much safer journey.

Next fall is the deadline for the installation of a sidewalk along Godwin Boulevard from Oakland Elementary School to the Kings Highway intersection.

Eric Nielsen, the city’s director of public works, said the sidewalk project was started because residents of Oakland and Chuckatuck wanted a safe way to connect the villages.

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“The sidewalk would allow the residents to walk to the communities,” he said.

The project was first suggested 10 years ago in the Chuckatuck/Oakland Village Initiative Plan, in which the residents let the city know their community’s short- and long-term goals.

The plan included a request for sidewalks, among other additions, such as a stoplight at Kings Highway and upgraded village entrance signs.

Now, the sidewalk is almost complete, Nielsen said.

The construction of the curbs and sidewalk started about five years ago and has been completed as the money has become available.

“Each year, for about the past five years, we’re gotten $100,000 to $150,000 for the project,” he said.

So far, $640,000 has been spent on the project, and another $116,000 is required to finish the last part of the sidewalk that reaches Kings Highway, Nielsen said.

Funds from the Village and Neighborhood Improvements category in Suffolk’s capital improvement funding were used for the project.

The sidewalk is located on the side of Godwin Boulevard where more houses are located, Nielsen said, in order to reduce the cost.

“We could put them on both sides, but it would be double the money,” he said.

Originally, the plan was to have everything finished by next spring, but Irene had set the project back.

“Most of the crews were devoted to Hurricane Irene clean-up,” Nielsen said.

This task has put them behind on the Chuckatuck project, and the deadline has been adjusted.

“We’re anticipating we’ll get the (final) funding in July,” Nielsen said. “If we get the funding in July, we hope to be done by October.”

However, he said, if that funding doesn’t come through, the project will be considered finished without the last piece of sidewalk.

Nielsen said he thinks the completed sidewalk has been well received by the communities, and he hopes when everything is done it will be easier for people to get around.

“It feels good when we can build a safer place for pedestrians,” he said.