Joplin metropolis workers to develop sidewalk restore program | Native Information

W.Walking or getting around in a wheelchair can be challenging on some Joplin sidewalks if they are buckled up, damaged by large trees, or if they don’t have corner ramps that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But with 133 miles of sidewalks, it could cost the city $ 46 million to repair the damaged ones, according to a recent study commissioned by Joplin City officials.

“There are 3.7 million square meters of sidewalks. It’s a big deal, ”said Dan Johnson, assistant director of public works in the engineering department.

Because of this, city officials are working on a plan to document and inventory walkways, their condition, the condition of the trees around them, and guidelines for prioritizing repairs. They will also look for funds to pay for the work, Johnson said at a working session of Joplin City Council on Aug. 9.

Engineers have developed guidelines for dealing with the diversity of the city’s sidewalks. Some – the more modern ones – are made of concrete. Others, those in older neighborhoods, were made of brick or limestone slabs that were patched up with concrete repairs over the years.

History of the sidewalk

The installation of sidewalks has declined over the years, but has become important again for people wanting to walk to get around, relax, or instead of using a car.

“At the turn of the century, sidewalks were built on both sides of the streets in new parts of the city. The subdivisions were generally more densely populated and followed a pedestrian-oriented plan, ”Johnson said.

As cars became more common, the neighborhoods became open residential areas with wider streets for driving and parking and less walking. In the 1960s, sidewalks were removed as a requirement in Joplin’s residential areas, Johnson said.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 and reintroduced the need for sidewalks. At this point, Joplin added the requirement for sidewalks on one side of the street for all new residential areas.

“It was an important step forward to caring for people with disabilities and making sure they are accessible,” said Lynden Lawson, assistant director of public works for the city, of the ADA Act.

The city’s first ADA plan was adopted in 1993 and updated in 2018. It will now be updated every two years with new information about accessibility needs, Lawson said.

“The first thing you do when trying to consider an ADA plan is to self-assess” the status of accessibility to public buildings, he said.

“You want to look at barriers. What is the key to making people in buildings and also our sidewalks and ramps accessible across the city? Even on some ramps that were built before the tornado, you will find that some of those ramps are inaccessible “because they weren’t built to today’s standards or because things were changed around them, which are barriers that were in place at the time of the Baus did not exist.

Current assessment

In 2019, the city commissioned engineering offices to carry out a city-wide pavement analysis. The data collected was used to create a sidewalk inventory that includes the material and type of sidewalk, slope, bank, types of problems, photos of the sidewalks, and more.

About half of the city’s sidewalks have been rated as subpar, marginal, poor, or sub poor, Johnson said.

There are different ways to fix sidewalks depending on the problem.

Where plates are countersunk, making the surface uneven, mudjacking is used. This is a process of injecting cement, sand, and earth under the sidewalk to raise the submerged slabs.

In the case of uneven joints, the edges or strips of the panels can be sanded to level them out or to make them flush. Johnson said, “We have used grinding to great effect. It was quick, it was effective. It’s not the ultimate answer. It’s kind of a stopgap solution. But it has its place in our overall concept. “

The city can also remove and replace sidewalks. This is often used on street corners where the handicap ramps need to be replaced. It can include any required tree removal and driveway rebuilding.

Full repair and replacement is another way to fix badly damaged sidewalks and places where handicap ramps are not up to standards. This happened in many areas of the disaster recovery zone. It includes repairing the sidewalk, repairing or adding handicap ramps, repairing the street, and adding handicap ramps where needed.

“It works wonders for a neighborhood and it’s a very nice end product,” said Johnson.

The first significant work on sidewalks came after the 2011 tornado, when Joplin received federal grants to repair infrastructure in the tornado zone. That paid for repairs or the replacement of sidewalks in the area hit by the tornado, which made up about a third of the city, said public works director David Hertzberg.

Olsson Engineering was instrumental in putting this plan together, he said. That led to the effort to create an overall program for the city and to form the basic inventory for the current work, said Hertzberg.

Johnson said while the city works on the Joplin Sidewalk Future Program, employees will keep track of what has been done to them and their current condition in a table that can be updated as changes.

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