Sunnyvale to Repair 800 Sidewalks

Sunnyvale’s streets are lined with many verdant trees, which give the town a touch of charm and provide shade during the warmer months. Yet these same trees are the cause of much of the damage to the more than two thousand sidewalks within its borders that are in desperate need of repair. A growing problem, the public works department has stepped up their plan and their budget in Sunnyvale to repair 800 sidewalks throughout the city.

Many of Sunnyvale’s sidewalks become broken or cracked by trees and roots. In 2010 and 2011, there was a backlog of 819 walkways that required repair but in 2013 and 2014, that number more than doubled to 1,713. That number has continued to climb to its current level of 2,120 locations that require repairs. Based on the location and the cause of the damage, the city will employ a variety of techniques to restore broken sidewalks, curbs and gutters. These include installing barriers to confine tree roots, constructing flexible, rubberized walkways and adding structural soil between the tree roots and cement. Other tactics include removing existing trees that have a tendency to cause issues and replacing them with mature trees that are less inclined to result in future walkway destruction.

The allotted amount for repairs for fiscal year 2014-2015 as well as 2015-2016 has been $500,000 but with 2,120 walkways, curbs and gutter areas in need of overhaul, the city recently awarded a substantial $2 million plus contract to JJR Construction. The company is tasked with fixing 800 designated sidewalk locations, significant progress in the city’s walkway repair needs.

“Other cities have moved to a model where the resident pays for sidewalk maintenance and repair costs, but Sunnyvale’s council has chosen to continue to pay the full cost. “In addition to our other major investments in street paving to maintain our pavement condition index at high levels, we have increased funding for sidewalks over the past two years. We remain committed to keeping sidewalks safe and working on the sidewalk repair issue,” explains Sunnyvale communications officer Jennifer Garnett.

The estimate to repair the entire 2,120 sidewalks is around the $5 million dollar mark and will take approximately five years to complete. Repair work for the initial 800 locations should begin shortly.