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New sidewalk construction project on horizon for downtown Rochester

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 7:28 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – A new sidewalk construction project could be coming to downtown Rochester this spring.

The sidewalks along South Broadway Avenue, Third Street SW and First Avenue SW are in need of repair, as they have brick inlay that’s more than 30 years old and degraded.

The City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center have spearheaded a project to fix the sidewalks.

Both have indicated the goal of the project is to remove tripping hazards and to enhance the area with things like benches. Another goal is to improve pedestrian ramps that are used by people with wheelchairs and other limited mobility.

“It’s kind of been an ongoing issue both for pedestrians and our maintenance department having to maintain this over time,” City of Rochester Engineer Tyler Niemeyer said. “It’s gotten to the point where it’s not sustainable anymore, it needs to be replaced.

The proposal will go to Rochester City Council next month for approval. Similar projects have been rejected by the council in the past due to funding issues. The last sidewalk project completed was in 2013.

The project will cost around $2.95 million dollars. DMC will be funding $2.9 million of it and $50,000 will come from tax abatements.

DMC and the city said they are communicating with businesses in the area to develop a plan to have the construction without interfering with operations.

“During that time, we want to make sure there is easy ways to access, like walking bridges, to sure that people have access in and out and that there’s access for different mobilities,” DMC Community Engagement Director Jamie Rothe said. “We have also understood that sound and dust mitigation is also important. We will look for ways to mitigate sound and mitigate dust so it’s not coming into their business during construction.”

Vehicle traffic will also be impacted as the sidewalks are worked on. Some areas will be down to one lane.

If city council approves the project, the next step is bidding, and then construction would start in May and go through Sept.

More information can be found on the project’s website.

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