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Infrastructure project to add sidewalk and bike path in Mecca

MECCA, Calif. - Riverside County supervisors on Tuesday approved a $2.28 million contract with a developer to oversee an infrastructure improvement project that involves adding sidewalk space and a bike path along a nearly mile- long stretch of roadway for the benefit of Mecca residents.

In a 4-0 vote -- with Supervisor Marion Ashley absent -- the Board of Supervisors awarded the State Route 111 & Fourth Street Pedestrian and Roadway Improvement Project to Indio-based Granite Construction.

The project has been in the works since 2014 and is centered along Highway 111, which turns into Grapefruit Boulevard going north, from about a half-mile south of 66th Avenue up to Fourth Street.

According to county Transportation & Land Management Agency documents, the goal is to facilitate the movement of pedestrians and bicyclists between St. Anthony's Mobile Home Park and downtown Mecca.

The park is mostly occupied by farmworkers and migrants and meets the federal definition of a "disadvantaged community,'' according to TLMA documents.

A 5-foot-wide concrete sidewalk will be added to the north side of Highway 111 through the construction zone, in addition to an eight-foot striped path straddling the roadway, reserved for foot and bicycle traffic. Curbs will be upgraded, and a pedestrian crossing over the Pacific Railroad tracks at Grapefruit and Fourth will be improved, according to TLMA.

The agency noted that with the "pedestrian route'' in place, residents will have easier access to "schools, bus stops, markets, a medical clinic, library, post office and a Boys & Girls Club.''

The county will be relying on a mix of state and federal funds to cover the cost of the project.

A groundbreaking date has not been set.

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