Saunders Road in Newport News to get sidewalk to aid citizens in wheelchairs

10 On Your Side

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A mile-and-a-half stretch of Saunders Road into Harpersville Road is busy and narrow.

But sadly, for many disabled residents, it’s their only path to get the things they need.

“I have to go down that road for Food Lion, I have a doctor at the end of the road, if I want to get to the mall, I have to go down there…there are many times we just have no choice,” said resident Bill Ahlman.

Ahlman lives in an apartment complex at the intersection of Saunders Road and Daphia Circle.

He, like many others there, need a wheelchair to get around, and when the bus is late or doesn’t come at all, he hits the pavement, because there’s no sidewalk.

“I know several people who have had accidents out here and a lady lost her leg because a car hit her because she went on the street in a wheelchair,” said another resident, Bernice Holloman.

10 On Your Side covered an accident a little over a year ago there, where a 67-year-old woman was hit by a car while in her wheelchair.

“I was going against traffic and I had just pulled into a driveway on a private home and then a car or two passed, then I went out and tried to speed into the next driveway there was this truck…I moved over, saw that he wasn’t moving over that way, so I moved over more still went down in the ditch. Fortunately, somebody pulled over blocked traffic and helped me get out of the ditch,” explained Ahlman.

As a result, Ahlman and other residents reached out to 10 On Your Side for help to see what can be done about getting a sidewalk on the road.

“Anything channel 10 would do to help us out, I’d really appreciate that we need that not just for me, for him and everyone else,” said Holloman.

10 On Your Side called Kim Lee with the city of Newport News to get answers. She explained they are aware of the need for sidewalks in the area.

Lee says the city has already secured funding to extend the sidewalk down to Ahlman’s apartment complex.

One more street down will get a sidewalk by March, and, from there, the entire sidewalk will be complete in the next five years by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

“The quality of life would do great for me because I can walk up and down the street I’d feel safe,” smiled Holloman.

The initial portion of the sidewalk covering up to Bayberry Drive is being done by the city as part of a larger project for drainage improvements.

Then, VDOT is laying down the rest of the sidewalk up to Dafia Circle, which costs $1.3 million.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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