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Abilene City Council approves Elm Creek pedestrian bridge as part of effort to improve safety

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ABILENE, Texas - The Abilene City Council on Thursday approved the contract and contractor for a pedestrian bridge over Elm Creek next to South Clack Street.

It is part of an effort to improve pedestrian safety in that area.

Justice Construction of Abilene was awarded the $352,435 contract.

City council members initially approved the project in October of 2015, which includes the bridge and a sidewalk.

Construction is expected to begin in about a month and will take 180 working days to complete. That's about nine months, weather permitting.

Earlier this week, Jason Verner said he had a close call in that area while riding his bike home from work.

Verner said he was hit by a driver about three weeks ago.

"He actually ran a stop sign and spun me off into the road," Verner said. "My backpack kept my head from hitting the pavement."

He walked away without a scratch but his bike was destroyed.

Verner has to ride on the frontage road in that area for now, but that could change with plans to build a sidewalk from South 14th Street to 2626 South Clack Street, where the Betty Hardwick Center is located.

"I think that's a great idea," Verner said. "Every day I ride down Clack here, and everybody's pulling out here. They never look both ways for pedestrians or bikers."

"I think it creates a much better pedestrian flow," Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna said. "It makes an unsafe environment much safer for the public, and that is the impetus behind the project, primarily safety."

Verner had a request for drivers all over town, "Watch for pedestrians. Watch for bikers, man, we're everywhere."

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