Old Dixie Highway sidewalk construction begins near route of deadly accident

Deadly game of risk for cyclist traveling highway

We all face risks when we head out the door for work.
 
But for Angel Moldonado and Tony Sullivan, close calls are a daily occurrence. 
 
"You see some of the cars might pull to the side a little bit, but most of the cars will be right next to you. They ride on you," said Moldonado. 
 
"We actually work on the other end of U.S. 92, so we ride our bikes all the way there. Takes a half hour every day," said Sullivan. 
 
The two men use their only feasible route on their daily commute, one that has them peddling down Old Dixie Highway in Polk County. 
 
They ride right past where Enrique Hernandez lost his life last year when he was hit by a car while walking to nearby Tenoroc High School.
 
It's a commute that usually involves dodging cars, maneuvering quickly and hoping for courteous drivers.
 
But that’s all about to change.
 
The well trafficked two-lane highway is narrow and has no sidewalks or curbs. 
 
Many times motorists are forced to move to the opposite lane just to provide walkers, joggers and cyclist enough room.
 
"It's obvious there's constrained right of way here," said County Transportation Spokesman Bill Skelton.
 
Skelton said over the next few weeks, construction crews will be seen clearing brush and laying foundation dirt for what will eventually be a 1,300-foot-long sidewalk running between Shalamar Creek and Carroll roads. Once finished, he said, the project will also include a 60-foot aluminum pedestrian bridge over Shalamar Creek. 
 
"We're fast-tracking this project. We want to expedite the construction and get the sidewalk in as soon as we can," said Skelton. 
 
Construction is expected to be finished by late October.
 
For Moldonado and Sullivan, they'll just have to keep their eyes peeled until then.
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