Armed with a $2.5 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the city of Milton is advancing full speed ahead to address a long-standing problem area on and around Sanders Street. 

The project includes a virtual makeover of the street, the only connection of Stewart Street with Dogwood Drive between Park Avenue to the south and Magnolia to the north. It will realign Sanders Street to eliminate one of the two intersections at Byrom Street and connect the two existing sections of Sanders Street at one intersection for a smoother traffic flow.

As most residents and those who frequent Sanders Street as a transportation artery know, the “disconnect” portion of Sanders Street that runs parallel to Byrom Street is awkward to negotiate, and it is unclear which way to continue for drivers who are not familiar with the area. That problem will be corrected with the realignment of the two sections of the street.

The reconstruction also will facilitate the loading zone for student pick-up at Rhodes Elementary School. The city worked with the School Board to ensure faculty parking at Rhodes would not be affected.

Considered one of the most sizable projects Milton has undertaken in recent years, the Sanders Street upgrade also will address a stormwater problem in the area. New underground structures will feature piping and treatment facilities that will significantly filter debris and sediment from stormwater runoff before it reaches the area’s sensitive waterways like Locklin Lake and the Blackwater River.

Another feature that will affect safety and convenience for those using the city’s Community Center and students and faculty at Rhodes Elementary School will be the construction of sidewalks, curbs and gutters to catch, channel and control stormwater runoff.

Construction is anticipated to last for approximately one year and will be divided into phases to minimize its effects on both residents of the neighborhood and the students and faculty of the adjoining school. City authorities said they are aware that the construction, however minimal, will inconvenience those who live or frequent the area. But the consensus is that the new stormwater runoff control, better traffic flow and a safer environment will be well worth the trouble.

And according to the city’s primary announcement of the project, the road construction, paired with the expansion and rebuilding of the Dr. O.K. Matthews Tennis Facility along the north side of Sanders Street, will change the look and feel of this neighborhood in a positive manner.