The city of Columbus has started a road extension project on Maple Street to help improve traffic flow near four northside schools.

The road is being extended to U.S. 31 to provide an alternate route in and out of the area, said Dave Hayward, executive director of public works/city engineer. The schools — Columbus North High, Northside Middle, Schmitt Elementary and St. Bartholomew Catholic — haveĀ a combined enrollment in excess of 4,000.

A 2012 Safe Routes to School study identified an extension of Maple Street as a necessary improvement to local infrastructure to increase safety for students.

Maple Street currently ends at Tipton Lane, between Columbus North softball fields to the west and the Sirloin Stockade restaurant to the east. The road extension, which is less than 500 feet, will allow drivers to access Maple Street from the north by turning right from U.S. 31, or to leave the area using U.S. 31 by turning right off of Maple with no left turns permitted.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com