$46.4 million needed to fix San Diego's sidewalks - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

$46.4 million needed to fix San Diego's sidewalks

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego will need to spend $46.4 million to fix problems with the city's nearly 4,600 miles of sidewalks, according to a report that will be presented to the City Council's Infrastructure Committee Thursday. 

Student engineers hired to conduct the $1 million study found 78,400 locations where sidewalk repairs or replacement are needed. They also found that 620 miles of roadway don't have sidewalks on both sides; half the 42,000 corner curb ramps aren't compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act; and 25,000 corners don't have a ramp.

Around $6.7 million is being set aside to conduct about 7,000 repairs over the next year, with a priority being placed on high-traffic areas like bus stops, schools, parks, retail corridors and other public gathering areas, according to the office of Councilman Mark Kersey, the Infrastructure Committee chairman.

The money will also pay for the addition of 3.5 miles of sidewalks in spots where there are currently none.

"The completion of the city's first comprehensive sidewalk assessment is a positive step toward making San Diego's communities more walkable," Kersey said. "With this data, we can now execute plans to repair our sidewalks and identify priority projects citywide."

The city has commissioned several such studies in order to get a grip on the cost of clearing a backlog of major capital and maintenance projects with a collective price tag of nearly $3.9 billion. The city has also been assessing streets, parks, buildings and other facilities.

For sidewalks, about half of the projects will involve complete replacement, including 7,585 spots that were uprooted by trees. The rest, in which elevation changes between concrete panels are less than 1.5 inches, can be repaired, according to the report.

Financial responsibility for maintaining sidewalks generally lies with the owner of the adjacent property, but only to some extent. Because of the high price of repair or replacement, the city will split the cost 50-50 with the property owner.

The city will also pay the full cost if damage was caused by trees in the public right-of-way, heat expansion or grade subsidence -- in which poor soil compaction causes the sidewalk to settle.

The committee will also receive a report on how other cities handle the financial responsibilities of sidewalk maintenance.

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