The City of Early was included last week in a $25 million project approved by the Texas Transportation Commission that will allow the city to use nearly a half-million dollars to construct approximately one mile of sidewalks and another half-mile of bicycle lanes.

According to a press release from the Texas Department of Transportation, the City of Early will use $492,226 to create sidewalks that will connect campuses within Early Independent School District with area neighborhoods, as well as a new multimodal transportation facility from City and Rural Rides. Bicycle lanes will be constructed on East River Oaks Road from U.S. Highway 84/183, then up Sudderth Drive to the elementary and middle school campuses.

“By doing this it creates a more safe transportation for students and neighbors between the campuses, allowing people to walk, exercise in a safe manner,” said Early city administrator Tony Aaron.

In accordance with TxDOT’s TAP rules, eligible project activities were limited to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects, and the TAP funding was identified for construction only. It is anticipated that all TxDOT selected 2015 TAP projects will be let for construction within three years.

“The Brownwood District is excited that the City of Early was approved for this funding,” said in a statement from TxDOT Environmental Specialist Andrew Chisholm, who worked with city officials during the program’s application phase. “Early’s project precisely meets the intent of these funds. By providing new sidewalks and bicycle lanes, pedestrians and cyclists, especially school children, will be able to use these alternative modes of transportation safely. Ultimately the quality of life for all Early citizens will be enhanced.”