STUARTS DRAFT -- Safety concerns for students walking to school in Stuarts Draft prompted the county to build a sidewalk. But now, parents are asking why the project was not done in time for school.
School is back in session. Nowhere is that more evident than along Augusta Farms Road in Stuarts Draft. People who live along the road say in the mornings and afternoons, a steady stream of students flows to and from Stuarts Draft High School.
From his perch atop his porch overlooking Augusta Farms Road, Milford Hartman has quite a view of it.
"Kind of steady - one and two, three and four, not usually over three or four," Hartman said. "Because they just straggle out of school for about a half-hour."
The stream of kids walking along the road concerns parents and the county alike.
"There was no defined path for them to travel," said Candy Hensley, project manager and assistant to the Augusta County administrator, "so a lot of students were traveling along the shoulders, or even along the edges of others' property. Or within the roadway itself."
The road does not have much of a shoulder, one reason neighbors are ready for the sidewalk to be finished - and are wondering why it is not finished. The project was started in July, not enough time to finish before school started Monday.
Hensley said they planned to be done by now, but that the county ran into problems with the original bid.
"So it forced us to rebid the project," she said. "So by rebidding the project, it put us out another month to get completed."
Now Hartman is watching the progress, ready for when he can see the sidewalks put to use.
"It gets kids off the road, out of the way of traffic. And that way they're a lot safer," he said.
"Of course, you never know," he added with a laugh. "You know how kids are."
Hensley said work crews are ahead of schedule and the project should be done by September.
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