Sidewalk Project Expected to Make Roads Safer

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After years of grant writing, Bay County has finally received $1.5 million to make one of the county’s most dangerous roads a safer place.

Natalia Maddox walks to work every day from her home off of North Lagoon Drive, and she's not alone.

"When I go to work in the morning around 11 o’clock, I see lots of people doing their exercises; walking and biking along North Lagoon," says Natalia Maddox.

Maddox has never run into trouble along this busy thoroughfare, but others haven't been so lucky.

"I was hit walking down North Lagoon three years ago. I sent petitions to the county and now we're finally seeing something done," says Frank Simpson, a North Lagoon resident.

In recent years several people have died in car accidents or just by walking or biking along North Lagoon Drive.

The fatalities prompted the current sidewalk and bike lane project set to begin in March. The project will feature an eight-foot walkway and two five-foot bike lanes on either side of the roadway. Construction could last through next August, but neighbors don't seem to mind.

"That's a long time, but we'll work around it. It will be worth it when it's finished," says Frances Rose, a North Lagoon resident.

The project also includes resurfacing the three-mile stretch of North Lagoon, and minor drainage improvements. Project coordinators say there will still be two lanes open during construction.

Sidewalks and bike lanes will be added to a seven-mile stretch of Thomas Drive from Joan Avenue to U.S. 98.

The county hopes to have the $6 million needed to complete that project by 2006.