City prepares for major sidewalk assessment - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

City prepares for major sidewalk assessment

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Interim Mayor Todd Gloria and Councilman Mark Kersey said Wednesday that an assessment of the condition of sidewalks around San Diego is gearing up -- a major opening step in attempts by city officials to reduce a massive backlog of infrastructure projects.

Employees and college students are training and testing equipment for the study now, and will hit the streets by the end of the month, according to Kersey's office.

"This is the first time the city has ever conducted a comprehensive assessment of its 5,000 miles of public sidewalks," Kersey told City News Service. "It will take about a year to complete. But when it's done, we'll be able to put a price tag on the needed repairs."

Projecting the cost is critical because city officials are uncertain of the ultimate bill for repairing San Diego's sidewalks, roadways, public buildings and other municipal facilities. Educated guesses from Kersey and other city officials range north of $900 million and could top $1 billion.

City officials also want to know where sidewalks are needed but don't currently exist.

"Ultimately, we want to make San Diego a more walkable community, like creating safe routes to schools," Kersey said.

City officials also plan to assess the condition of municipal buildings.

Results from both studies are expected to be made available near the end of this year.

According to a presentation last summer to the City Council's Infrastructure Committee, which is chaired by Kersey, the sidewalk study will be conducted by two civil engineers and two dozen student engineering interns who will walk around the city carrying handheld GPS devices.

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