Pedestrian safety is a high priority to the City of Rochester. Public Works staff evaluates each potential safety hazard and marks the areas of sidewalk that fail to meet minimum safety standards. Rochester City Ordinance Chapter 72 requires that each property owner is responsible for the construction, maintenance and repair of the public sidewalks abutting their property and may also be liable for damages resulting from the improper condition of that sidewalk.
- Sidewalk markings
- Who does the work
- Replacement responsibilities and fees
- Common questions about replacement options
- City Licensed Contractors
Why was the sidewalk painted with pink paint?
Sidewalks are inspected for safety defects in response to citizen complaint, reported falls or scheduled inspections of large areas of the city. Substandard sidewalk sections are marked with brightly colored pink paint at the discretion of Public Works Engineering Sidewalk Technicians.
What do the paint marking on the sidewalk mean?
Paint marking are used to identify sidewalk panels with safety hazards including, but not limited to: any raised hazard (tripper) over ½”, any dipped/sunken panel over ½” out of vertical alignment, panels that are reverse tipped (draining away from boulevard), cracked panels, deteriorated or uneven concrete surface, improper jointing, and any hole/gap over ½”. Hazards have been identified solely at the discretion of Public Works Engineering Sidewalk Technicians.
Who Does the Work
Who can do sidewalk repair work?
Property owners can either hire a licensed sidewalk contractor or have the city do the work. Any individuals paid by the property owner for sidewalk replacement are contractors and therefore must hold a valid sidewalk contractor’s license. All contractors must have a permit for the sidewalk repair work and complete a final inspection.
How do I find a contractor?
Property owners are encouraged to ask friends and acquaintances for recommendations and/or use the Yellow Pages to find ‘Concrete Contractors.’ All contractors performing sidewalk repairs are required to hold a city sidewalk license. Click here to check if your holds a valid license or call 328-2400.
Will the city complete the sidewalk replacement within the time required by the letter?
City ordinance requires the property owner to complete the replacement within 60-days. The city contracting procedures require extended scheduling and more advanced planning, therefore the work may be completed in the next construction year. Property owners meet the intent of this deadline by providing written communication indicating they would like the city to complete the replacement work. (Returning the provided postcard meets these requirements.)
Replacement Responsibilities & Fees
Does the city pay for any of the sidewalk replacement cost?
Per Rochester City Ordinance Chapter 72, property owners are responsible for the construction, maintenance, and repair of public sidewalks abutting their property.
The City of Rochester will reduce the cost of sidewalk replacement charged to the property owners in these instances:
- Sidewalk work must have been completed by the city or a licensed city contractor. All work must have been properly permitted and inspected upon completion.
- For sidewalk in separate-single family areas (R-1 and R-2 use areas):
- The city will replace defective sidewalk at the full expense of the city until the sidewalk reaches 5 years old. (Years 1-2 are the contractor’s responsibility.)
- The city will replace defective sidewalk at a partial expense to the city at 20% decreasing rate through the ninth year.
- For separate-single-family corner lots with sidewalk on two or more sides, the city will charge 50% of the cost of the sidewalk on the longer side and 100% on the shorter side.
How does the city cost compare with private contractors?
Small sidewalk replacement projects are often uneconomical for contractors, thus the city rate could be less than the private contractor rate for small jobs. Property owners can usually obtain a lower price from a contractor if the job is larger and/or they work with neighbors to combine their replacement needs into a single project for the contractor.
Can the cost of the sidewalk replacement be added to the property taxes?
When the city completes the sidewalk replacement, the property owner will receive an invoice for the sidewalk replacement upon completion of the work. Invoices unpaid within 30-days are subject to a monthly service charge. Periodically, all unpaid invoices are referred to the City Council for collection though property tax assessment. More information on assessments is available at www.rochestermn.gov/Assessments
What do I do if I think a marked panel belongs to my neighbor?
Please contact the Public Works Department at 328-2400 so the property owner/obligation can be verified.
Who is responsible for the replacement of corner panels and pedestrian ramps at street intersections?
The pedestrian ramps, including the corner panel at a street intersection are the responsibility of the city. City sidewalk crews/contractors will remove and replace these pedestrian ramp areas at no cost to the property owner.
Common Questions About Replacement Options
Will the city contractors also replace sidewalk that was not marked?
The city sidewalk replacement crews/contractors will only replace the sidewalk panels that were marked as a safety hazard and will not replace additional sidewalk panels, driveway aprons, service walk or concrete on private property. The property owner must have this work completed by the private contractors.
What if a tree root lifted the sidewalk?
Tree-friendly construction methods that reduce the potential for recurring uplift of the sidewalk are required. When sidewalk panels in close proximity to trees are being replaced by a private contractor, the cost of tree/root work is completed at the property owner’s expense and must meet the requirements of the City. Private contractors should call 328-2400 for more information on construction requirements for panels adjacent to trees.
Is mud-jacking permitted?
The city does not recommend mud-jacking as an alternative to sidewalk replacement. Lifting a good panel to align with a raised panel is prohibited. However, the city does not prohibit the practice with the following limitations:
- Only panels that are settled may be lifted by mud-jacking.
- Mud-jacking is at the property owner’s risk. If unsuccessful, the sidewalk must be replaced.
- No city warrantee applies to mud-jacked panels.
- No licenses are needed for mud-jacking, however, the property owner must receive a permit and an inspection by Public Works to comply with the sidewalk replacement notice/order.
Is grinding permitted?
The city does not recommend grinding as an alternative to sidewalk replacement. Grinding a good panel to align with a settled panel is prohibited. However, the city does not prohibit the practice with the following limitations
- Only panels that are raised may be ground and the limit of grinding is a maximum of ¾”. Grinding must be adequately long across the panel.
- Grinding is at the property owner’s risk. If unsuccessful, the sidewalk must be replaced.
- No city warrantee applies to ground panels.The property owner must receive an inspection by Public Works to comply with the sidewalk replacement notice/order.
- No licenses are needed for grinding, however, the property owner must first request an evaluation of the panel to be ground for conformance with the grinding limitations. Then the property owner must receive a permit, complete the grinding, and receive an inspection by Public Works to comply with the sidewalk replacement notice/order.
- Approval of the acceptability of sidewalk grinding results is solely the discretion of Public Works Engineering Sidewalk Technician.
How is the Right-of-Way (ROW) impacted?
Contractors are responsible for arranging for the marking of public utilities in the ROW. Property owners are asked to mark any private utilities (sprinkler lines, sprinkler heads, dog fence wires, etc.) located in the ROW. If private utilities are not located they may be inadvertently destroyed. Private landscaping in the ROW may have to be removed and all replacements are at the property owner’s expense.
The City cannot recommend a specific contractor, but maintains a list of current and previous year licensed contractors. It is the property owner's responsibility to hire a City licensed contractors to perform work in the public right-of-way. Lists of City licensed contractors are maintained by the City Clerk's Office. Click here for more information on City Licensed Contractors.