HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - New sidewalks are being installed in a Hartsville neighborhood, and they're not made of concrete.
The City of Hartsville is installing Eco-Flex rubber sidewalks alongside some sections of streets in the historic neighborhood of Oakdale, according to Russell Cox, public information officer.
The improvement is made possible by a S.C. Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant received for the neighborhood. The project is intended to reduce the long-term damage that concrete sidewalks and trees often cause to one another.
The new pedestrian infrastructure project sands as the first of its kind in the region.
"The Eco-Flex sidewalk has sections which are fastened with glue and stainless steel deck screws, allowing the sections to be removed temporarily for maintenance work on tree roots. Unlike concrete sidewalks, which must be broken up when removed, these sidewalks may be taken up and used elsewhere after their initial installation. The rubber sidewalks are also not vulnerable to crumbling under pressure from tree roots," according to a news release.
The project is intended as an experiment to determine if rubber sidewalks could see future use in other Hartsville locations where trees and sidewalks are found close together, according to Cox.
Alongside the unique Eco-Flex installations, the City of Hartsville has been installing concrete sidewalks in areas of the Oakdale neighborhood without sensitive trees nearby as part of ongoing Community Development Block Grant work.
The longest area with a rubber sidewalk is a 364-foot section on the 400 block of Norwood Avenue, lined with relatively young willow oaks. Rubber sidewalks are also going in on a smaller, 64-foot section of Mill Avenue as well as a 16-foot section of Milliken Avenue.
Additional recent projects made possible by the Community Development Block Grant include new pedestrian lighting, security cameras, and an in-residence Hartsville police officer, Cox said.