Two sidewalks in Auburn and one in Lewiston will get handicapped-accessible ramps, thanks to a Maine Department of Transportation program and a federal grant.
"Basically, these are sidewalks, intersections and curb improvements that are near fixed-route bus systems to make the transit system accessible to people with disabilities," said Marsha Bennett, transit coordinator for the Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee.
Maine DOT on Wednesday announced 21 access projects around the state for bus systems funded with Federal Transit Administration New Freedom grants.
In Auburn, the money will be spent on sidewalk ramps and intersection improvements on Lake Auburn Avenue and Elm Street; in Lewiston, on Park Street between Oak and Ash streets.
The work amounts to $115,776 in sidewalk improvements in the Twin Cities. The bulk of that, about $92,000, will be paid by the federal grant. The rest will be paid by the state.
"It really helps out the municipalities on these smaller projects," Bennett said. "Everybody benefits from this, and we couldn't pass it up. You don't see 100 percent funding on a project all too often."
Combined, the state agreed to pay $875,000 for sidewalk and access projects in 13 communities.
"If you go through a community, you'll see sidewalk ramps, but they may not meet current accessibility standards," Bennett said. "The standards are always changing, so the ramps may be too steep or too narrow. But this makes sure these ramps, the ones going in now, meet current design standards."
The projects are scheduled to be completed by March 2013.