SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is starting to repair sidewalks in Republic and Springfield to meet ADA standards. One person excited about the improvements is disability advocate Jan White.
White is 40-years-old and is diagnosed with Post Polio Syndrome. She got polio when she was 4-years-old and has been using an electric wheelchair for two years.
“There are sidewalks that you get on, and they don’t go anywhere,” said White. “It ends. And there’s grass, or there’s nothing there.”
White told a story about how she and her husband were traveling to a store.
“We went the way we normally go, and we go up the sidewalk near Walmart, and there was a section of sidewalk missing, and it was just gravel,” said White.
The two eventually called 911, and paramedics showed up after 20 minutes. It took White’s husband and two paramedics to get her out of the gravel and out of the heat.
“If they just put a sign at the end of the sidewalk saying ‘sidewalk closed,’ you know, to let you know don’t go that way we could’ve gone a different way,” said White.
Now, MoDOT is starting with repairs in Republic between Illinois Avenue and Route 143.
In roughly two months, crews will move into Springfield to fix the sidewalk on Sunshine between Scenic Avenue and Kansas Expressway.
“We have a lot of work to do,” said Shelby Butler, with Empower Abilities Community. “But hearing the people, we serve in the community that we talk to; they have a lot of barriers they still encounter.”
The end goal is to make Springfield and Republic known as accessible places to live.
MoDOT said the project should be completed in early or mid-December of this year.