Projects making school routes safer remain undone

CHARLESTON, SC (AP) - The roadside routes to schools across South Carolina remain dangerous, years after state officials promised to use federal grants to improve them.

A Lowcountry newspaper reports that South Carolina has $15.5 million available in federal Safe Routes to School grants. State officials awarded about $5 million of that in 2007 and 2008 for 24 projects statewide. But just one of those is complete.

In South Carolina, the program designed to encourage students to walk and ride bicycles to school is run by the state Department of Transportation.

Traffic engineering director Tony Sheppard says the agency's made progress.

He says the agency will solicit bids this spring for construction on eight projects, while another nine are in the right-of-way phase. Projects largely involve building and refurbishing sidewalks.

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