Putnam Drive, a narrow, two-lane road not far from the FAMU campus, is getting an upgrade. The city is adding sidewalks to the street from Monroe Street to County Club Drive at an estimated cost of $1 million.
“The project is being constructed in two phases, the first of which is currently under construction from South Monroe Street to South Meridian Street,” said Carrie Poole, a spokeswoman for the city. “The second phase will be constructed starting early next year and will span from South Meridian Street to Country Club Drive.”
The first phase started in May and should be finished in September. The second phase launches in 2019. Phase one will last approximately four months, but the second phase will take a little longer due to the difference in length, Poole said.
The first phase, executed by Allan’s Excavation, is a work in progress Monday through Friday. The construction crew works from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in heat approaching 95 degrees.
“We drink plenty of water. If a guy gets tired, then he gets shade,” said Langston Grayson a construction worker.
The job is not as simple as simply putting concrete down. The construction workers will put storm pipe in the ditches. They have to move the sewage pipes because they have to cross with the storm pipes. The ditches along the side of the road are going to be filled with cement and made into sidewalk.
“Everything we dig out the ground we have to replace with fresh sand,” said Grayson. “We’re doing the sidewalks, the water, the storm system, and the sewer.”
The debris and construction equipment are prevalent on Putnam Drive. Considering the conditions, the road is partially blocked off.
“The road is closed to local traffic only because of the narrow width of the road. This means that residents along Putnam can still access their homes, but through traffic is not permitted during construction. A detour route is provided for each phase of construction,” Poole said.
The construction misplaces more than bypassing traffic. Residents in the area have to divert their path when traveling by foot. But the inconvenience is only a temporary pain for a long-lasting benefit.
“Construction of the sidewalk will enhance mobility in the area by providing a safe route for pedestrians as well as an accessible route for disabled or mobility impaired pedestrians,” said Poole.
The area in phase one is home to many students and families in apartments and homes.
Being such a densely populated area, one could imagine there being a lot of people on Putnam Drive. There are bus stops on both sides of the street. One is for students at FAMU and the other is the StarMetro.
“They really need a sidewalk because there’s a lot of traffic walking down Putnam,” said Grayson.