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Safe Sidewalks?

Cones and Caution Tape--After several people tripped on the new sidewalk and entrance ramp to The Media & Clark County License Office, the City of Kahoka set up temporary barriers until permanent railings can be installed.

By Mike Scott

Kahoka’s Downtown Enhancement Project is nearly completed, with only permanent handrailing and minor dirt work remaining.  But some people are questioning the design of the sidewalks, after several people have fallen, with injuries ranging from scraped knees to injured wrists.

“I know of at least seven people who have fallen,” said Kahoka Mayor Wayne Blum.

The sidewalks were designed by MECO Engineering of Hannibal, and approved by the City of Kahoka and by MoDOT, thru which the federal grant funds were provided.

“The sidewalks were designed to meet ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) requirements.” said Blum.  “We have to follow their rules.

Original plans for the east and west side sidewalk improvements called for hand railing to run nearly the entire block, with the only entrances at the ramps in the middle of each block, and at the ends.

”You could not have gotten up from the street,” said Blum.

The re-designed plan eliminated about 300 feet of railing, but narrowed the sidewalk to allow for an extra step.

“We know there is some difficulty where the sidewalk transitions from two to three steps,” said Blum.

At present, the city is limited to what it can do to better mark the steps, because they have not accepted the final project.

“Right now, it’s still the contractor’s (Bishop Construction) sidewalk,” Blum said.

The permanent hand rails, which were supposed to be painted last week, should be installed soon.

“Every ramp at the ends of the block, and in the middle, and each business ramp will have a railing, which is supposed to be black or silver,” Blum said.

Once the project is complete and accepted by the city, they plan to apply a sealant to protect the new cement from salt.

“It won’t be a problem from most businesses, but we need to give it time to cure,” Blum said.  “We don’t want it tracked into the businesses.”

The sealant cures in just a few hours.

In addition, the contractor plans to bore holes for flagpoles for any business wanting to display the flag, said Blum.

City crews also need to re-install the light post that were removed to put in the new sidewalks.

“The poles have been painted and are ready to go when crews have time.  The hail storm knocked out many street lights and sensors, and there’s a lot of brush in power lines,” Blum said.