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Sidewalk repair

City crews have made major progress in reducing the backlog of sidewalk repair work this year. This file photo shows work on 48th Street just north of A in November 2013.

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler says the city has made major progress in addressing a backlog of sidewalk repairs and is on track to eliminate the backlog over the next 14 months.

Since March, crews have repaired or replaced more than 1,550 sidewalks, the equivalent of 7.5 miles, Beutler said at a news conference Thursday morning.

“At one point several years ago, it was estimated that the city was so far behind, that it would take over 40 years to catch up with the existing funding levels,” he said in a news release. “That was a situation that demanded action. So last year, we sat down with City Council members and staff and developed a two-year plan to drastically reduce the backlog and get our community’s sidewalks fixed. We prioritized the needs and then worked to identify funding.”

About $6.5 million is coming from these sources:

* About $4 million in expiring “certificates of participation” was re-targeted.

* Just more than $1 million is Federal Transit Authority funding.

* Nearly $400,000 is from Neighborhood Focus Area funding from Urban Development.

* About $1 million is from the Capital Improvement Program.

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Crews also have repaired or installed about 250 sidewalk curb ramps, and the city has been experimenting with a Sidewalk Rapid Response Team for emergency repairs and work needed in high-priority areas.

Beutler said repairs will continue into the winter as weather allows.

To prevent a future backlog, he said, the city continues to look for an ongoing funding source for maintenance and repair.

“Good sidewalks connect people to neighborhood businesses, schools, churches, parks, playgrounds and jobs,” Beutler said. “They contribute to the health and safety of our families and kids. ... They contribute to our high quality of life.”

More information is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: sidewalks).

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