Fort Wright approves funding to fix deteriorating sidewalk on George Huser Drive

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Fort Wright residents can look forward to some construction on George Huser Drive soon.  

Recently, it came to Fort Wright officials’ attention that water coming off of a nearby property is undermining the sidewalk on George Huser Drive. This poses problems in the present and future. 

The current undermining of the sidewalk has created a potential public safety issue for pedestrians who walk along George Huser. City Engineer Mark Brueggemann consulted on the state of the sidewalk and determined that if the situation persists without mitigation, there can be more serious effects on the road itself. Mayor Dave Hatter explained Brueggemann’s findings at the Sept. 6 Fort Wright City Council meeting. 

“There are additional safety considerations of just the vulnerability of that sidewalk, if it will, if it’s not already, undermine the street itself. That is a very heavily traveled thoroughfare and the last thing we want to do is have a significant impact to the street itself,” Hatter said. 

Fixing damage to a street is significantly more expensive than repairing or replacing a sidewalk, Hatter said. Fort Wright is currently undertaking a 5-year re-pavement and reconstruction project on major roads in the city, so they are well acquainted with road repair costs.

Public Works Director Jeff Bethell detailed the sidewalk reconstruction options available to city council. He explained that the baseline solution would be a sidewalk reconstruction and creating a concrete channel to address the water runoff. This would cost the city $125,000. 

However, the council had previously inquired about the cost of moving the sidewalk to the other side of the street and increasing its width. This would have cost the city $208,000.

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The council voted to authorize the city of Fort Wright to proceed with the $125,000 sidewalk reconstruction plan. Members decided on this option because it addressed the issue most efficiently. 

Hatter stated that this plan intends to “permanently address the problem.”

Because this is an unanticipated expense, it was not budgeted for. Hatter said that the city is on good financial footing and has plenty of reserve funds for this type of situation.

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