June 30 storm update – walk repair
At tonight’s Public Works Committee, Michael Lemens, director of engineering, gave an update on the work the city has been doing to clean up after the June 30th storm. Both the Public Works and Parks Department staff have made major efforts to clean up during the initial two days/first week after the storm. Outside help was brought in. The city spent two weeks working overtime in removing grass. They have been working since then on a daily basis to address tree issues. Both Jeff Warnock, park superintendent, and John Prijic, street superintendent, were present and gave their input.
Lemens said that we are in the “damaged sidewalk replacement phase” now. A city map was included in the committee members’ packets outlining the affected areas. They will now proceed with stump removal and root balls. Some stumps have to be completely removed, and some will have to be ground up. The goal is to have clear sidewalk routes to school by the start of the school year. That is their number one priority; then, they will move to the residential areas. Another goal is to get all damaged walks replaced by the end of the construction season. There are some funds available in the Capital Improvement Plan reserve. If the city is successful in their FEMA claim, the funds will then be replaced next year. The bad news is that the wedge cut and grinding work will not be completed this year. Unfortunately, the city will need an additional contract for sidewalk repair because the value of the extra work exceeds the value of the current contract.
The plan is to bring the stumps to the city property located on the west side of the 4700 block of 47th Avenue, for drying. Prijic said that there are 52 stumps that have raised sidewalks, curbs, gutters, or driveway approaches. It may take as long as two years for all of the stumps to completely dry out. Alderperson Jan Michalski suggested contacting local dairy farmers to inform them that they can pick up these stumps for their cattle to eat. This would relieve the city of the responsibility of storage of these root systems. Ruffolo thought it was a good idea.
Alderperson Steve Bostrom asked why it’s taking so long to get the rest of the stumps taken care of when the city was able to remove five huge stumps in Lincoln Park almost immediately after the storm. The reason is that all of the underground “locates” (for gas, water, electricity) had all been done already. The rest of the stumps that need attention will have to have these “locates” done before any stumps can be removed. Added to that is the complication of stumps being intertwined with gas and electric lines. Prijic explained the extreme care necessary in performing this work safely. With no complications, the work could be done within two weeks; they could do ten or twenty in a day. With complicated stump removals, the work could take from two to six weeks. It could easily take four or five hours to do one stump if a vacuum tube needs to be used to extricate the stump from gas or electric lines.
Both the chairman of the committee, G. John Ruffolo, and alderperson, Steve Bostrom, expressed their sincere thanks to the two superintendents present and their staffs for the excellent job they did in cleaning up after the storm.