Sidewalk FAQs

How are sidewalk reconstruction sites selected?
Repair locations can come from several sources. This includes requests from property owners, mayor’s office, City Council, District Councils, injury/accident sites, and our proactive inspection program.  Each year, the Sidewalk Section reviews all requests and determines which locations will be added to the sidewalk five-year construction program. Determinations are made based upon severity of damaged sidewalk, location to other potential sites, and funding. Due to the amount of requests and the annual sidewalk budget, only a fraction of the locations can be done each year.

What are the criteria for sidewalk replacement?
Sidewalk panels to be replaced are those that are broken, uneven, settled, heaved, or deteriorating.  The sidewalk inspector determines which panels are in need of replacement.  This could be from as little as a single panel to reconstructing the entire length of the block.  In some cases, it may be necessary to replace sidewalk panels that appear to be in good shape in order to re-establish the sidewalk grade or to maintain proper drainage.

How do I know if my sidewalk is scheduled for reconstruction? 
Each year, a list of the blocks that are scheduled for sidewalk reconstruction is posted on the website. 

Does the city notify property owners if their sidewalk will be reconstructed?
Saint Paul Public Works mails letters to property owners prior to the work being scheduled. 

My block is being scheduled for sidewalk reconstruction; can I “opt-out” of the potential work at this time?
There is no “opt-out” option. This is maintenance work that needs to be completed.

How do I know which panels are being replaced?
When the sidewalk inspector does his initial inspection, the panels to be removed and replaced will be marked with painted white arrows. A line of dots between arrowed panels indicate a long stretch. These markings identify the panels that the contactor will remove.

How much is the sidewalk replacement going to cost?
There is no direct cost or assessment for individual property owners. Depending on the type of sidewalk construction project, the work is funded through the general fund or other programs.

When will the sidewalk repairs be done?
Sidewalk reconstruction work is typically done from May through October. The contractor can start work at 7 a.m. Construction on a block usually takes from 1 to 5 days, weather permitting.

The notice indicates that if my driveway crossing is marked for repair. How long will it be before I can use it again?
Typically you should stay off the new concrete for five days. If your driveway is asphalt and it was cut or damaged during the concrete work, the city will repair the asphalt. This operation may be days after the concrete work depending on workload. The contractor will put gravel in the gap so you can use your driveway until such time the asphalt crews can make repairs.

Will the contractor re-sod the lawn or boulevard?
No, as per city contract, the contractor is only responsible for placing black dirt and seed along the edge of the new sidewalk and filling in any ruts in the boulevard that may occur during construction. The property owner may choose to install sod themselves at their own expense.

Will the contractor water the new dirt and seed?
No. Any watering will need to be done by the abutting property owner. We suggest regular watering as needed to help regrow grass as quickly as possible.

We have a garden on the boulevard, will the city replace our garden if it is damaged or removed?
City Ordinance, Chapter 105 states: Public works and utilities. Notwithstanding the foregoing, all such boulevards remain public property and subject to the right of the city to perform necessary work, to plant, trim and otherwise maintain trees, to access utilities and to store excess snow. In the event the city interferes with boulevard plantings in the course of such work, it shall be responsible only to restore the boulevard to the original grassy state by use of black dirt and grass seed. In no event shall the city be liable for any damage to, disruption of or removal of plantings, either direct or indirect, as a result of the city, its employees, agents or contractors performing any installation, maintenance or repairs. Further, the city shall have the right to remove or restrict any plantings that are deemed to interfere with the safety of pedestrians and motorists.

The contractor put down the dirt and seed but it rained and the dirt was washed away. Will the contractor put down additional dirt and seed?
Yes, please contact us 651-266-6120. The sidewalk inspector will re-inspect the area and order more dirt and seed as needed.

What do I need to do about my sprinkler system?
If possible, locate and mark your sprinkler system before and during sidewalk construction work. The sidewalk contractor will take every precaution to avoid causing damage to your sprinkler system. The contractor is responsible for any damage on the property side of the sidewalk. However, if the system is damaged in the boulevard it is your responsibility to repair the damage at the owner’s expense as per City Ordinance, Chapter 129, Sprinkler Systems in Boulevards.

What will happen to my retaining wall/fence that is next to the sidewalk?
Generally, the contractor can work around these types of obstructions without causing damage. If the wall/fence is resting on, or hanging over the city sidewalk, it may need to be dismantled and/or removed by the owner at the owner’s expense prior to sidewalk reconstruction. If the wall/fence falls due to its resting on or hanging over the sidewalk, the contractor is not responsible for any repairs or costs.

Can I widen my driveway apron or construct a new apron?
Any change to the driveway apron needs to be reviewed to make sure it meets city zoning requirements. If a change is approved, it is the owner’s costs for any change. This can be done by the city contractor on site or by any licensed contractor obtaining the proper permits.

I have a boulevard walk that has settled; will the city replace it?
Boulevard walks are not included in the work being done. However, some work could be done as necessary to make a proper match if the adjoining mainline walk is reconstructed. These minor repairs will be added to the overall costs to the property owner.

Can I hire the city's contractor to do concrete work on my property?
Yes. You may discuss potential work with the contractor.  We suggest that you get estimates from several contractors.