Updated Wed, May 30, 2012 5:00 pm
The Ohio Department of Transportation has awarded grants to four Southeast Ohio counties to ensure that children have a safe experience commuting to school.
Athens, Licking, Guernsey and Washington counties are among 15 others across the state to receive a portion of $16 million dollars.
The grants will fund 68 projects through the Safe Routes to School program, which educates children from kindergarten to eighth grade to safely walk or bicycle to and from their neighborhood schools.
Each proposed project will receive between $2,000 and $500,000 to develop or improve safety initiatives in local communities. An ODOT spokesperson says this includes improving sidewalks, creating new walking and biking connections, installing bike racks and improving cross-walks.
Of the 19 counties, Licking and Guernsey counties will receive the most money, with a combined total of $1,300,000.
Washington and Athens Counties will receive a combined total of $475,000.
"Our aim is to help communities improve safety through engineering and education," said ODOT director Jerry Wray. "We believe that Safe Routes to School grassroots programs are the key to encouraging safer behaviors."
The department has administered the Safe Routes to School program since 2004 and has awarded more than $48 million in project funding.