Downtown Seward, Alaska is seen on Saturday, July 24, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Downtown Seward, Alaska is seen on Saturday, July 24, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward moves ahead with sidewalk repair

The phase addresses sidewalks on the west side of Fifth Avenue, from Washington Street to Adams Street.

The City of Seward is trying to make it easier for pedestrians to get around. The city’s ongoing efforts to repair and add to sidewalks made further progress last month, when the Seward City Council approved funding for the next phase of construction.

The council approved legislation in August that authorized Seward City Manager Janette Bower to enter into an agreement with Harmon Construction for $282,500 for phase “E” of the city’s sidewalk repair project. The phase addresses sidewalks on the west side of Fifth Avenue, from Washington Street to Adams Street.

Among other things, the legislation acknowledged the need for better sidewalks in the city, citing the high use of downtown sidewalks by pedestrians and city liability for injuries related to bad sidewalks.

“The appropriation of these funds to sidewalk repair will reduce the hazards to pedestrians and visitors to Seward,” the legislation says.

Seward Public Works Director Doug Schoessler echoed those statements in a memo to the council.

“The condition of some of the downtown sidewalks necessitates immediate action,” Schoessler wrote. “The high volume of pedestrian traffic on these sidewalks warrants this project to mitigate and reduce slips, trips, and fall hazards to pedestrians and visitors.”

The need to overhaul the city’s sidewalks was identified in Volume I of Seward’s 2030 comprehensive plan. That plan was prepared between 2015 and 2017 and is meant to outline goals and priorities of the city, as well as guide land use and infrastructure decisions, city funding requests and foster participation in the public process, among other things.

Specific goals the plan identifies related to sidewalks include supporting the construction of sidewalks, developing an improvement plan for safe pedestrian movement including sidewalk extensions and constructing sidewalks and paths to connect schools and residential areas.

The Seward City Council approved funding for phase “D” of the sidewalk repair project last year. That phase addresses a sidewalk addition and curb repair on Adams Street, as well as sidewalk and curb repair on 4th Avenue. The resolution approved last year authorized former Seward City Manager Scott Meszaros to enter into an agreement with Harmon Construction for $145,500 for the phase.

According to an itemized sidewalk project list dated June 7, 2021, the City of Seward has already completed about $286,000 worth of sidewalk repairs and additions over six individual projects. That document also outlines 10 additional projects to be completed that have an estimated cost of about $515,600. Almost all of those projects are repairs.

More information about the city’s sidewalk repairs can be found on the City of Seward website at cityofseward.us.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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