City sidewalks move closer to ADA compliance

Published 9:38 am Friday, March 17, 2023

Nearly a year after construction plans began, sidewalks in Middlesboro have been under construction with one goal: to make them ADA-compliant.

“It was a safety improvement to make those sidewalks ADA compliant. It was originally, I believe, presented by the city and the state representatives were able to get it in the budget,” said Rodger Perkins, the traffic engineering supervisor for District 11 of Bell and Harlan counties. “I started working on it sometime about a year ago.”

According to the ADA specifications for sidewalks, the minimum width of a sidewalk should be five feet. Sidewalks should be held to a running grade or slope of five percent or less if possible. However, sidewalks that follow the grade of a street in hilly terrain cannot meet this requirement and may follow the grade of the street.

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The project began at 25th Street last year on Nov. 29 and will complete around Cumberland Avenue, finishing up two sections around 30th Street. The entire project will cost the state $1.244 million.

“[The sidewalks] go into existing locations,” Perkins said.

These locations include 25th Street, parts of 19th Street, Cumberland Avenue on the south side, and Cumberland Avenue on both sides from 24th to 30th streets.

Many people in Middlesboro are happy to see the new sidewalks as a breath of fresh air, as a clean-up for the city.

“I would like to complement the state for that [project]. It looks really good,” said council member Terry Poore at the last Middlesboro City Council meeting.

Assuming no supply chain issues and weather permitting, the project is scheduled for completion around Sept. 30.