Mayor Chris Beutler today said the City has made major progress on addressing a large backlog of sidewalk repairs. Since March, crews have so far repaired or replaced over 1,550 sidewalks, the equivalent of 7.5 miles. Beutler said the City is on schedule to eliminate the rest of the backlog over the next 14 months.
"At one point several years ago, it was estimated that the City was so far behind, that it would take over 40 years to catch up with the existing funding levels." Mayor Beutler said. "That was a situation that demanded action. So last year, we sat down with City Council members and staff and developed a two-year plan to drastically reduce the backlog and get our community's sidewalks fixed. We prioritized the needs and then worked to identify funding."
About $6.5 million for sidewalk repair is coming from the following sources:
In addition to the sidewalk repairs, construction crews have repaired or installed about 250 sidewalk curb ramps to ensure safe and convenient access for residents. The City has also been experimenting with a Sidewalk Rapid Response Team for emergency repairs and those needed in high-priority areas. Mayor Beutler thanked the construction firms involved and said repair work will continue into the winter as weather allows.
To prevent a future backlog, the Mayor said the City continues to work on an ongoing funding source for sidewalk maintenance and repair because of the important role sidewalks have in Lincoln.
"Good sidewalks connect people to neighborhood businesses, schools, churches, parks, playgrounds and jobs," he said. "They contribute to the health and safety of our families and kids. They provide access to walkers, bikers, citizens in wheelchairs and a wide range of Lincoln residents with diverse needs. In combination with our award-winning trails network, they help elevate Lincoln above other communities when outside companies and employees are looking to locate. They contribute to our high quality of life."
More information about sidewalks is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: sidewalks).