Penn DOT: New Falls Road To Have Sidewalks Installed beginning this Spring
Updated 11:30 pm Monday
It’s been called one of Bucks Counties most dangerous roadways for pedestrians.
New Falls Road between Durham Road and Bristol Oxford Valley Road in Bristol and Middletown townships will be getting sidewalks installed Penn DOT announced Monday with work beginning this spring.
Improvements under this project include sidewalk construction alongside this nearly one-mile-long section of road.
Additionally the safety improvement plan includes the installation of crosswalk pavement markings to delineate pedestrian routes along the corridor; installation of pedestrian signal equipment in conjunction with the addition of ADA curb ramps to further improve pedestrian safety; and the addition of protected left-turn traffic signals to improve motorist safety, Penn DOT said in a press release today.
The issue of getting sidewalks installed along the roadway became a point for a Bristol Township based advocacy group beginning in 2012.
This reporter covered the story and the advocacy group that was launched as part if an effort to make the roadway safer for pedestrians beginning in 2012 for Patch.com after John “JJ” Rearick was struck and killed in July of that year.
Sharon Rearick founded the grass roots group Sidewalks Are For Everyone which advocated for work to be, such as sidewalks constructed, done on New Falls Rd since the tragic accident that took her son “JJ”‘s life.
“I’m so excited” Rearick said last Monday night by phone.
“Its been a very emotional day and it doesn’t bring JJ back but something needed to be done” she said.
The effort kept Rearick busy and focused for years to come as she and her group held fundraisers and advocated for improved safety measures to be implemented at township meetings also.
Senior Manager for Penn DOT at District Six Ashwin Patel said the local news coverage and advocacy helped bring the project to fruition.
“Thank God” he said, after going through some of the local challenges the project faced before becoming realized.
“Yes this took quite some time” he said.
Penn DOT had to contend with “numerous right of way acquisitions” and the fact that this is a unique work project, he said, because it involves a roadway stretching through multiple localities we’re now in position for the work to be completed.
“This was years in the making,” Patel added.
The project will not require a vehicular detour, but motorists should anticipate periodic lane closures with flaggers. A pedestrian detour will be posted during construction, officials from Penn DOT said.
Marino Corporation of Skippack, Montgomery County, is the general contractor on the $1.4 million project, which is financed with 100 percent federal funds. Work on the project is expected to finish in spring 2024.
State Senator Tommy Tomlinson, with State Representatives Frank Farry and Tina Davis were also instrumental, along with Middletown and Bristol Township officials, with getting the project off the drawing board and onto the roadway a state official said.
In the end for Rearick, her work has come to fruition
She agreed the long process tested her will at times, but said she truly believed the efforts on the part of Penn DOT, state and local officials would pay off.
“You know” she said “I sent my first e-mail to local officials on August 24, 2012.”
Now almost 10 years to the day there will be “Sidewalks For Everyone” in Bristol and Middletown Township on New Falls Road to safely walk on.