COLUMBIA — A quarter-mile section of Range Line Street near Columbia College has been updated with a new road median, landscaping and street lights.
Water lines, sewer lines, and gas lines have been buried underground. Five crosswalks were painted along the street between Rogers Street and Wilkes Boulevard.
The $1 million improvement project opened to traffic last week, after nearly four months of construction. The project was a joint venture between Columbia College and the city. It fulfilled two objectives: to make the street safer and improve the aesthetics of the area.
Columbia College spent about $900,000, covering the landscaping, lights, signs and gas line work, according to Bob Hutton, executive director of administrative services at Columbia College.
The city spent about $100,000 from Capital Improvement Sales Tax funds to move the water and sewer lines, said Jill Stedem with the city's Public Works Department. The electrical work was shared.
Before the Range Line Streetscape improvements project, this portion of the street had just one crosswalk. Parking was restricted to the east side, which blocked the view of pedestrians crossing the street, Hutton said.
The project was initiated to address safety concerns, Hutton said. The street, which bisects the campus, is frequently crossed by students.
Columbia College athletic facilities — Southwell Complex and the Southy Building — and several parking lots are on the east side. Classroom buildings, the Atkins-Holman Student Commons and residential halls are on the west side.
In addition to the crosswalks, concrete sidewalks on both sides are new, as are the curbs. Fourteen black street lights with a retro design line the median and illuminate both lanes of traffic.
New street signs have also been installed, including pedestrian signs next to the walkways. The speed limit on this portion of Range Line Street is 25 mph.
In addition to the road median and landscaping, Hutton also said the project was significant from a utility point of view.
According to Connie Kacprowicz, utility services specialist with Columbia's Water and Light Department, the city did the water line work and ran the new electric lines.
“The water lines were part of the bond issue to increase fire flow to Jefferson Junior High School in that area,” Kacprowicz said.