Mayor Randy Toms says the City of Warner Robins is nearly done planning a large sidewalk project along Watson Boulevard.
Ann Adams has worked just off Watson Boulevard at Asian Furniture and Gifts for two months. She says the sidewalk project is good news.
“It makes me feel good as a citizen, as I said as I was explaining before, I love to walk and there's not a lot of sidewalk areas in Warner Robins. So, I think it's a great idea especially there's been a lot of accidents in just the six months I've lived here,” Adams said outside the store.
She describes herself as an avid walker and says more sidewalks make it safer, keeping people off of un-even terrain and out of streets.
There have been three fatalities in the area of Watson Boulevard between Knodishall Drive and Austin Avenue, according to Warner Robins Police reports obtained through an open records request.
One of the reports, written by investigator Timothy Pippio, ruled one of those deaths a suicide, but the other two occurred when people tried to cross Watson Boulevard.
Mayor Randy Toms says even though sidewalks may not have stopped those accidents, it'll help keep walkers off the road.
“We see people, I mean all the time, walking on that side of the road. There's even paths made all the way down Watson Boulevard on that side of the road so this will give them a safer, better place to walk, and hopefully it will decrease the potential for an accident like that to happen,” Toms said in his office on Wednesday.
The project will bring sidewalks to the north side of Watson between North Houston Road and Margie Drive.
Toms says they're in the last stages of getting easements for all the private property and construction contracts are ready to sign.
The project has been months in progress, but has taken more time because properties along Watson belong to city, Houston County, and City of Centerville residents and business, according to Toms.
Tabear Taylor owns the Car Show off Watson and Knodishall and says with all the foot traffic he's seen, sidewalks should help.
“I guess it's a little bit safer for the pedestrians walking up and down the sidewalks, it'll keep them out of the road there,” Taylor said looking at the intersection.
He said he remembered seeing WRPD working at least one of the fatalities and described it as a sad situation.
The project would be funded with Warner Robins’ SPLOST funds and potentially some grants from the Georgia Department of Transportation, according to Toms. However, he did not have a total estimate cost for the project.