DPW begins work on Garden District sidewalks
BATON ROUGE - Public workers are ripping up concrete in Baton Rouge's Garden District to fix sidewalks broken by tree roots. The works comes three months after a News 2 report prompted a promise from the city to fix the problem.
Several homeowners had complained trees on city property were tearing up sidewalks and creating a hazard they might be liable for. A parish ordinance requires homeowners to maintain the sidewalks in front of their house, unless they're damaged by trees on city property.
Today, Department of Public Works crews were picking up or pulling up broken concrete and replacing it with gravel. DPW Director Pete Newkirk said they couldn't pour concrete in the area, because the roots would just break it again.
"We're going to put like a packed limestone gravel base and we're going to pack that down solid and put some edging there. When this is done you'll see some sporadic spots with non-concreted areas," Newkirk said.
Newkirk said gravel is the safest alternative for people and the trees. Some neighbors told News 2 that's not good enough.
"The gravel is hard with a stroller. There are elderly people in the neighborhood, they use walkers, and you get bogged down in gravel," David Franz said.
Newkirk said he's confident, when the project's done the sidewalks will be better than before.
"We may spend a little extra time out here to make sure we do what the neighbors want and if it takes us an extra day or two, that's fine. The whole idea is to make the sidewalks safe and usable, and that's what we're going to do," Newkirk said.
The project costs several hundred dollars per section of concrete. The city is responsible for paying for repairs because it owns the trees that did the damage.
To report a sidewalk problem on your street call 311.