FOLEY – Students at three Foley schools will have better access to campus later this year after the completion of city projects.

Foley will add crosswalks, sidewalks, signals and other improvements at Foley Elementary School, Florence Mathis Elementary School and Foley Middle School. The most extensive work is planned at Foley Elementary where a ditch in front of the school entrance will be filled in.

The Foley Elementary project is expected to cost $67,522. 

Darryl Russell, Foley public works director, said students now use a small bridge that crosses the ditch. The bridge is not considered accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act. He said the project includes removing the bridge and filling in the ditch along North Cedar Street.

There’s a bridge outside the front of their school that goes to Cedar Street,” Russell said. “In that price, we’re going to demo that bridge, put pipe down and get that thing ADA compliant.”

The ditch will be replaced with a culvert to drain water along Cedar Street.

Russell said the contractor plans to start work and complete much of the project during the school system’s fall break in October.

“My contractor knows it and I hope we’re going to hit it and get that bridge out and get all that done really quick,” Russell told City Council members.

Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the project at Foley Elementary will move the school crosswalk to align with Cedar Street and the sidewalk. 

“That will make that whole crossing area safer,” Hellmich said. “It’s something that we’ve been striving for.”

He said the project is one of several that the city is working on, but some other projects on state highways will have to be approved by the Alabama Department of Transportation. Hellmich said, however, that work needs to begin on some school projects as soon as possible.

“This is not all of the crosswalk programs that we’re working on,” Hellmich said. “The remainder of them though, downtown and on 98 are in conjunction with ALDOT and so you have to go through more official design criteria and permitting and everything.This is strictly up to us and so we have designed it. This will make it a safer street crossing for our kids.”

Russell said the work at Mathis is less extensive. The total cost of the project approved by the council is $14,528. 

He said the work at Foley Middle School will include the installation of a signal light on U.S. 98 to help students cross the highway.