Dayton rebuilds walks

DAYTON – Iowa Highway 175 through Dayton goes by several other names: NW Third Street, Skillet Avenue and South Main Street.

Those streets, throughout residential sections and the downtown business district, contain quite a few sections of sidewalk and curb installed prior to the passing of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Thus they’re not compliant with the access requirement of the law.

That’s about to change.

Brian Smith, a methods engineer with the Iowa Department of Transportation’s design office in Ames, said the project will bring the sidewalks and curbs along the highway right of way into compliance with the ADA.

Recent changes in federal law made it imperative that the work be done promptly, he said.

“We risk our federal funding,” Smith explained.

The Iowa DOT recognizes that small communities may not have the resources to make the necessary upgrades, so it is funding the Dayton project as part of $2 million set aside for that type of work.

The new sidewalks will meet all the specifications for width, slope and markings, and they will include detectable warning plates at the edge of the curb.

“They are for the sight impaired,” Smith said. “They indicate they’re about to walk into traffic.”

The textured rubber panels are cast into the concrete. A sight-impared person using a cane to help guide them can detect the difference in texture, sound and feel.

Part of the work in Dayton has already been completed; Smith said the curbs and sidewalks most in need of work were identified and done first.

The project should make the entire right of way through Dayton compliant.

Though it may close some sidewalks while work is being done, there’s a strong effort to minimize the impact.

“We don’t want to disrupt anyone,” Smith said. “We’re going as quick as we can.”

Dayton City Clerk Randy Danielson is happy the work is being done.

“It’s an improvement to the community,” he said.