The town of Milton received $850,000 in federal grant funds to complete unfinished portions of the sidewalk along Route 7 South.
The project will span the approximately two-mile area between Boysenberry and Nancy drives to improve walk-ability in the town core and create a complete sidewalk network from Milton Rental to Rene’s Market.
While construction is expected to begin in 2018 or 2019, the selectboard accepted the funds to construct 3,830 linear feet of sidewalk last November, according to Erik Wells, Milton’s director of administration and community affairs.
“There are a number of steps we have to get through from concept to construction,” Wells said. “The first step is getting a design firm on board.”
Other components of the project include design engineering, construction and project management.
Additionally, sidewalk segments will be built over two ravines – one at a dead end between Marty’s Auto and Boysenberry Drive, and the other along a sharp corner across from Bombardier Road, according to the press release.
Though the project is still in its preliminary stages, Wells noted that competition for the bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure funds, which are administered and allocated by the Vermont Department of Transportation, was particularly high during this round of grant funding.
Milton’s project was among 19 other applications submitted, and the town received approximately 11 percent of the $7.5 million in total funds allocated.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” Wells said.
The complete cost of the project is expected be around $1.06 million, requiring the town to put up a 20 percent local match – a cost it plans to cover with impact fees collected in fiscal years 16 through 20.
“The town collects impact fees to offset growth and improve public infrastructure,” Wells said. “We collect these fees over a three to four-year time span, and the bulk of them are for construction.”
Overall, the sidewalk revamp is part of the larger, ongoing Milton 4D project to improve the Route 7 corridor from the Milton Diner to the Clark Falls Dam.
“This is a significant funding award that speaks volumes to Milton’s commitment to improve the identity, mobility and accessibility to its town core for residents,” town manager Donna Barlow Casey, said in a press release.