BERLIN — West Ocean City will be seeing some long-anticipated sidewalks put in place in the near future, according to representatives of the State Highway Administration (SHA).
SHA District Engineer Donnie Drewer and Assistant District Engineer Ken Cimino briefed the Worcester County Commissioners Tuesday on their agency’s plan to do a sidewalk feasibility study in West Ocean City. The end goal of that study will be to install sidewalks along Route 50 starting at the Harry Kelley Memorial Bridge and heading west.
“Our intent is to construct sidewalks from MD 611 to the Harry Kelley Bridge along the eastbound roadway for the south side of US 50,” Cimino told the commissioners.
There will be sidewalks laid on the north side of Route 50 as well, he added. Such sidewalks have been on a lot of residents’ wish lists for some time, according to County Commission President Bud Church.
“It’s a topic for discussion at every West Ocean City Association meeting that I ever attend,” he said.
The sidewalks are the culmination of other pedestrian safety projects in the area, such as crosswalks.
“In 2011, I started working on a plan that first started looking at the intersections with pedestrian safety,” said Cimino. “The first intersection that we looked at was US 50 and Golf Course Road.”
Adding sidewalks to West Ocean City will complement the steps already taken, explained Cimino.
“Now that we’ve got pedestrian areas with those sections we want to go ahead and tie it all together with sidewalks,” he said.
As the SHA looks to begin its feasibility study, Drewer told the commission that the agency needs the county’s support before beginning. Worcester wouldn’t need to contribute any funding but would be responsible for upkeep after everything was in place.
“We’re looking for the county to maintain the sidewalk after we’ve built it. That’s what we’re looking for,” he said. “We’ll build it. We’ll pay for it. And when I say maintain, if the sidewalk goes to pieces we’re not asking you to replace it.”
The county would only be on the hook for general maintenance. The commissioners agreed that the sidewalks would be welcome, though Commissioner Jim Bunting suggested that any support given by the county be contingent on first reviewing exactly what the demands of maintenance will be. The commissioners voted unanimously to support the feasibility study.
The project is about to move to the “concept design stage,” said Cimino, and will begin this summer. No hard date for shovels hitting the ground has been announced yet, however.