BLYTHE – A $1.3 million construction project will include paving the dirt path that runs perpendicular to Appleby Elementary School into a roadway with a sidewalk. The project, expected to be completed in October this year, will provide a needed connection from the school to the apartments located to the north.
Construction starts this week on the Appleby Elementary School Roadway Safety Project. The county transportation project, with funding from the state, Riverside County and the city of Blythe, will build infrastructure to fix traffic circulation and safety issues at the school, which opened in 2009.
Students, parents and staff of Appleby Elementary School will benefit from the new roadway and sidewalk that will be completed early in this new school year.
“This project is a great improvement that will provide safe routes to school for our students,” Supervisor V. Manuel Perez said in a prepared statement. “I am grateful for the efforts of our late Supervisor John J. Benoit, who obtained transportation funding to fix the longstanding traffic situation at this school and make it safer for students. I commend the Riverside County Transportation Department for helping making sure we fulfill this very important project for the Blythe community.”
Felix J. Appleby Elementary School is located in the unincorporated area of Riverside County, just south of the Blythe city limits. The school is on East Vernon Avenue, which has no outlet and backs up to farmland. With only a single access road to the school site, traffic is congested during school drop-off and pick-up times, putting students and vehicles at risk.
In 2014, the Riverside County Transportation Department applied for funds from the state’s Active Transportation Program, with support from the Palo Verde Unified School District, the California Highway Patrol, the Blythe Police Department and the City of Blythe. In late 2015, the California Transportation Commission awarded $721,000 to the county for the project.
Third Place, which is currently a dirt path, will be paved between the school on East Vernon Avenue and East 14th Avenue, near the Quail Place apartments north of the school. The road extension will create a second point of vehicular access to the school, which will relieve congestion by connecting the school site to the housing.
d“The Palo Verde Unified School District is very excited about the start of this very important public works project taking place near Felix J. Appleby Elementary. It will allow for improved traffic flow to the school and add to the safety of our staff and students of the District,” Superintendent Charles Bush said in a prepared statement.
The project will install sidewalk along Third Place, between the school and East 14th Avenue, providing a safe path for walking or biking to school. The project also includes construction of curb and gutter, driveways, and curb ramps.
Granite Construction Company will do the construction.The Board of Supervisors awarded th$623,607 company a contract in June. The total cost of the project, which includes design and right-of-way acquisition, is $1.34 million.
The northern half of Third Place is within the City of Blythe, which contributed $113,920 toward the project cost.
“The City of Blythe is proud to support this project,” Blythe Mayor Dale Reynolds said in a prepared statement. “I am glad to see it is now taking shape and will be completed in the next few months. With the completion of this project, the area will provide a safe route to the Felix J. Appleby elementary school. Opening the access between Third Place and Vernon St. will provide parents and faculty easier access to and from Appleby School. Relieving the congestion in the area of the school will be a plus in everyone’s favor. Thank you to everyone involved to get the job done.”
- V. Manuel Perez: Supervisor V. Manuel Perez
- Current third-place dirt path: Supervisor V. Manuel Perez