Rock Hill's sidewalk study halfway complete

adouglas@heraldonline.comFebruary 1, 2014 

A study of the condition of Rock Hill’s sidewalks is about halfway finished as city officials build an inventory of local streets that soon might need sidewalk repairs.

The process is “proactive,” said Kevin Bronson, city general services administrator.

“You’ve got to stay on top of (sidewalk maintenance),” he said, “you don’t want them to be unsafe.”

The assessment process could take a year to finish, Bronson said, but sidewalks identified as immediately hazardous will be fixed before the study is complete.

The city budgets about $100,000 per year to pay for sidewalk replacement, which includes any needed curb repairs. On average, material costs are about $5 per foot to install new sidewalk.

Keeping sidewalks in good condition is important to pedestrian safety, Bronson said. Some high-traffic sidewalks with damage – such as those on Hampton Street, near City Hall – already have been fixed.

Since mid-2011, Rock Hill has replaced nearly 13,000 linear feet of sidewalk.

The ongoing sidewalk study includes city-owned streets and some state-owned roads in Rock Hill. Many are located in residential areas.

Inspectors are looking for signs of damage caused by tree roots underneath the sidewalks or excessive stormwater runoff following heavy rains, Bronson said. Less often, vehicle accidents damage sidewalks.

“Sunken” concrete and uneven sidewalks caused by invasive tree roots will land on Rock Hill’s repair list, he said, and officials will prioritize projects according to the severity of damage.

Often, the city’s popular pedestrian areas are sidewalks with grassy areas and trees nearby, Bronson said, because people like using “aesthetic” paths. Those nice trees are usually the culprit of sidewalk deterioration, Bronson said, when roots raise up the sidewalk but the path is still walkable.

Rock Hill’s sidewalk study organizes streets by City Council ward designations. Officials say the sidewalk assessments are finished in Wards 1 and 2.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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