The sidewalks along Borst Avenue should be open for students to use when walking to school on Monday morning, as the months-long project begins to draw to a close. 

The lack of sidewalks on Borst Avenue was a major safety concern for the city of Centralia since the area is near the Centralia High School and Middle School and receives heavy foot traffic from students before and after school.

“That’s what the project was really about was the sidewalks, (citizens) will be happy that the kids don’t have to walk on the streets anymore. That’s huge, I think,” said  Borst Avenue Project Manager, Bob Jewell with SCJ Alliance.

The Borst Avenue construction is coming to an end as the final sections of concrete are poured. All concrete is estimated to be poured by Monday Dec. 9.

“There’s still some clean up they have to do. They are finishing up most of the concrete pouring today (Thursday),” said Jewell. “There are still a few small things that need to be done but all of the major stuff is completed. The sidewalk should be open for the weekend, we hope.” 

The black street lights lining Borst Avenue have been installed. 

“Some of (the streetlights) should be energized tonight, maybe the rest of them tomorrow,” said Jewell on Thursday. 

There is still some clean up and landscaping to do on Borst Avenue. They have to restore the laydown yard, an area used to store construction equipment, tools, supplies, etc. while the project is being completed, at the middle school. Some plants that were removed during construction need to be replanted. 

“Clean up should take a couple of weeks if they have enough staff to work on it,” said Jewell. At the conclusion of those couple weeks the project will be fully complete. 

The project — a joint effort by the City of Centralia and Lewis County since the road extends past city limits — officially began in July after years of planning and lobbying by Centralia High School students to build sidewalks on the street. 

“It’s a combination of everyone working together, and in today’s society, if we don’t all work together, we don’t get things done,” said Centralia Mayor Lee Coumbs said at the groundbreaking ceremony in July. “It is also a project to fix mistakes that have been made … this is what happens 40 years later to rectify something that involves the pride of our community.”

The majority of the $3.2 million contract awarded for the project will be paid by a  2017 state Transportation Improvement Board. Centralia will contribute $700,000 and Lewis County will pitch in $500,000.

Due to modern street-building requirements, the project included more than just building sidewalks. The project widened the road itself and added new stormwater management, sidewalks, lighting and landscaping.

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