For many years, the City Council and staff have discussed with the State Highway Administration (SHA) improvements to the sidewalk connectivity along Baltimore Avenue. This specific project (University Blvd. to I-495) was most recently presented by SHA to the City Council on July 8, 2014 and again on September 2, 2014.

The project will be funded through the SHA Sidewalk Retrofit program, and will repair and/or install sidewalks and ADA-accessible ramps along both sides of Baltimore Avenue between University Blvd and I-495. Crosswalks will be striped or re-striped where needed. The project is estimated to cost SHA approximately $1.2 million. The SHA project manager has informed the City that the project is funded under the area-wide sidewalk contract.

The City Council authorized correspondence with SHA on October 7, 2014 stating that the City would accept maintenance of a retaining wall at Erie Street that is required for the installation of a sidewalk. The SHA Sidewalk Retrofit project does not usually cover the cost of additional infrastructure such as retaining walls, and this issue had delayed progress on the project. The solution was to have SHA pay for the construction of the retaining wall, and once it was completed, the City would take over ownership and be responsible for any maintenance costs.

Following that correspondence, SHA staff has proceeded with the design of the retaining wall and initiated communication with adjoining property owners to obtain “Right of Entry” permission necessary for the sidewalk construction. SHA needs approximately 160 agreements, and has requested the assistance of the City Engineer to obtain some of these agreements. As of December 1, 2015, SHA indicated that they have received about 130 agreements.

The tentative construction start date is summer 2016, pending the receipt of the remaining Right of Entry permits. The construction will take approximately six to seven months. SHA has made a second mailing of the Right-of-Entry agreement to those property owners that have not responded. SHA and the City Engineer have met with property owners to explain the project and the need for the construction crews to temporarily enter the owner’s property for the construction of the sidewalk. A second meeting is planned for January with those property owners who have not responded to the second mailing.
[Source, SHA, City staff]