RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Work is finally about to begin on Richmond's crumbling sidewalks. The sidewalks were one of your number one concerns in a recent survey by the city.
The 12 On Your Side Investigators have uncovered documents that show the city is paying for nearly $1.5 million in repairs.
Bumpy bricks, tangled in trees are sidewalk staples in Richmond.
"I tripped over the concrete and I fell on my face, my arms and I got bruises on my knees," said Patricia McBride. She knows the dangers of the city's sidewalks better than most after falling in her south Richmond neighborhood. She had cuts and bruises and even needed dental work.
Last year, a city audit found major problems with the city's sidewalk program. The auditor wrote procedures needed to improve significantly. According to that audit, Richmond has 832 miles of sidewalks and an estimated back log of $14 million in repairs.
"We do care about the conditions of the sidewalks. We want to make the sidewalks safe for people to be able to walk and travel and enjoy the city, and we are asking for and seeking the funding to make those repairs," said Richmond Capital Projects Administrator Lamont Benjamin.
Benjamin says the auditor's report was based on data from two years ago. He says the city is currently re-assessing the sidewalk needs and rating their conditions. He'll have the results by the beginning of the summer.
"The assessment that we're having done will not only identify locations where there are sidewalks that need to be repaired, it will identify missing links of areas where sidewalks need to be installed," said Benjamin.
In the meantime, we've uncovered procurement documents that show two companies won bids to take on a total of $1.4 million in work. The sidewalks to be repaired were placed in groups, a block or two at a time. We visited several of the locations on the list and all of them had significant problems. The curb for one sidewalk was even propped up against a tree in Richmond's Fan District.
According to the list, the city is tackling several sidewalks in Church Hill, the Fan, the Museum District, Barton Heights and Brookland Park.
35 streets in all will see construction crews working on the sidewalks this spring. Sidewalk construction is expected to begin this week, if the weather cooperates.
May 2013 city audit: http://www.richmondgov.com/Auditor/documents/2013/13-11_RoadwayMaintenance.pdf