Sidewalk Replacement & Maintenance

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Sidewalk Replacement/Maintenance Policy

Pedestrian safety is a high priority to the City of Rochester. The Department of Public Works is charged with reviewing the safety of the public sidewalks within the City and responding to citizen concerns relating to sidewalk condition. Potential safety hazards on the public sidewalks reach the attention of the Department of Public Works through periodic comprehensive field inspection surveys, citizen comments, and as a result of unfortunate personal injuries. Using standard guidelines, the Public Works staff evaluates each potential safety hazard and marks the areas of sidewalk that fail to meet the minimum safety standards. The substandard sidewalk sections are marked using brightly colored paint.

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. In accordance with the requirements of Section 72.04 of the City Code of Ordinances, the Department of Public Works must inform you that a segment of the walk abutting your property contains one or more safety hazards. 

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Pink Markings on Sidewalks

The Department of Public Works inspects sidewalk for safety defects in response to citizen complaint, reported falls or scheduled inspections of large areas of the city. The edges of tripping hazards are painted to visually alert pedestrians to the defect and reduce the chance for a fall. The "X" on a sidewalk panel notes panels that need to be replaced. Arrows will be used to mark the limits of replacement for multi-panel replacement areas.  

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Sidewalk Replacement Costs & Responsibilities

Per Rochester City Ordinance Chapter 72, each property owner is responsible for the construction, maintenance and repair of the public sidewalks abutting their property. If the sidewalk replacement work is completed by the city crews/contractors, the City of Rochester will reduce the cost of sidewalk replacement charged to the property owners in the following cases:

  • Pedestrian ramp areas are fully at the city expense.
  • Sidewalk replacement of sidewalk less than 2 years old is warranted by the contractor that installed the sidewalk.
  • For sidewalk in R-1 and R-2 use areas (separate-single-family, only):
    • The city will replace safety defective sidewalk at the full expense of the city until the sidewalk reaches 5 years old.
    • The city will replace safety defective sidewalk at a partial expense to the city at 20% decreasing rate through the ninth year.
  • For corner lots separate-single-family, only with sidewalk on two or more sides, the city will charge only 50% of the cost of the sidewalk on the longer side and 100% on the shorter side.

If the city completes the sidewalk replacement, the property owner will receive an invoice for the sidewalk replacement upon completion of the work. If the invoice is not paid within 30-days, a service charge is added to the invoice each month. Periodically, all unpaid invoices are referred to the City Council for collection though property tax assessment. For sidewalk replacement, the period of time that this assessment will run on the property taxes is 5 years.

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Sidewalk Repair Work

All public sidewalk construction within the city must be completed by a contractor licensed and inspected in accordance with the Standard Specification for Concrete Walk (Click here to go to the Standards & Specifications page). Property owners can hire a licensed sidewalk contractor or can 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. A permit is required before any sidewalk work is begun and the city will inspect the work. The cost for the permit and for the inspection totals $85.

  • How do I find a contractor? Recommendations will not be given by city staff. Click here for a list of current and previous year license holder information. Friends and acquaintances can provide recommendations and the Yellow Pages can also be used as a resource in finding ‘Concrete Contractors’. You can call 507-328-2400 or use the website above to confirm a contractor has a valid license to perform this work.
  • Who gets the permit? The contractor doing the work obtains the permit. Permits are obtained at 201 4th Street SE, Room 108, Public Works. All that is needed to pull the permit is the address of the property and the name of the contractor conducting the sidewalk replacement. 

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City Licensed Contractor Information 

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.

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