The Indiana Department of Transportation has approved a project that will be a step toward improving students' safety on Clifty Drive near Madison Consolidated High School.

The crosswalk project, which will be at Clifty and Harry Nichols drives, will be partly funded by INDOT and a partnership between the city of Madison and Madison Consolidated Schools.

Creating the crosswalk for students has been a longtime concern of city and school officials and residents.

"There have been people trying to get this off the ground for several years now," Mayor Damon Welch said.

Welch said state Sen. Jim Smith approached the city last year about pushing the project forward, and worked closely with INDOT. Under the plan, INDOT would cover the cost of the crosswalk while the city and school would fund construction of a sidewalk, which is a requirement to get the state funding.

The project is expected to be completed by mid-summer.

Welch said having Smith approach INDOT helped move things forward. He said the only "redtape" is that the city needs to apply for a sidewalk permit from INDOT, a task that already is under way.

"We appreciate all the help he gave us," Welch said of Smith.

In a news release, Smith said the project will create a solution for students crossing the road at times of high-traffic congestion. He also said that local business and restaurants on Clifty Drive have been involved in the project.

"It's encouraging to see the business community and our local and state governments working together to promote safety on our streets," he said in the release.