VANDERBURGH COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – The Vanderburgh County Commission approved a $4.6 million construction contract for the improvements to Kansas Road, north of Evansville. Commissioners aren’t the only ones excited for the improvements coming the area. Residents in the area say they love to walk throughout their neighborhood, but they don’t always feel safe.

Nikki Teare says she walks around the area often. She said “McCutchanville is a wonderful area, it’s beautiful, it’s a great place to walk, but it’s a little unsafe at the moment with the traffic and the detours so I think it’ll be a great thig to have sidewalks. There are windy areas that feel unsafe and every time I hear a car we kind of look behind us to make sure we’re not going to get run over.”

The contract with Evansville-based JBI Construction is set to start immediately between Cayes Drive and Petersburg Road, increasing safety for drivers and pedestrians.

“When the road’s rebuilt it’ll be either two lanes or three lanes wide, we’ll have a center turn lane in parts of it. We’ll also have some sidewalks through there. So when it’s all said and done we’ll have a better road for all the residents out in that part of the county,” said Vanderburgh County Engineer John Stoll.

The curves along the route will be smoothed out and brand new sidewalks will stretch along its entirety, making evening strolls much safer. There will also be new parking lots near the west end of the route for the cemeteries and churches.

The project has been in the works since 2017. County officials say getting local churches and cemeteries on board was what caused delays.

“Getting that agreement was challenging, but everyone came together at the end of it and we’re so proud of everyone for that agreement — and I want to assure everyone – nobody in the cemetery is being affected. That was a big concern for us,” said Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave.

It’s been a long time coming, but residents are excited to see the end results.

Diana Steurer lives along Kansas Road. She and her husband, who walk their dog throughout their neighborhood nightly, said four feet of their property was purchased for the widening of the road. She said “the sidewalks will be good because there’s a lot of kids, bikers and so forth along here. But the widening is the main issue i think. Plus it’s been rough and shoddy for quite some time. So we’re looking forward to that.”

Stoll said this development is just one of many future projects they have coming up for Vanderburgh County as they try to improve safety for all drivers and pedestrians. The project is expected to finish in December of 2022.