City combines bids on Lakeside Drive bridge, sidewalk projects

City combines bids on Lakeside Drive bridge, sidewalk projects
The Lakeside Drive bridge was ranked fifth among “most traveled bridges in need of repair” in Northeast Florida, according to a report from the Florida Department of Transportation.

Motorists concerned about the condition of the bridge on Lakeside Drive at Wabash Street near VyStar Credit Union have longer to wait until it’s replaced.

Two Public Works projects on Lakeside Drive behind the Roosevelt Square Mall have been combined to be re-bid in the same bid package. The Lakeside Drive Bridge plans and specifications are currently being revised by a City engineering consultant to include the sidewalks along Lakeside Drive in the same bid package, according to Tia Ford, City of Jacksonville spokesperson.

The bridge replacement project has been on the City’s radar since 2013. Funding was first approved by the Jacksonville City Council in May 2015 for $700,000 to replace the existing 58-year-old bridge with a precast box culvert and to realign the roadway to provide a safer travel path by decreasing the turning radius and lowering the elevation. It will also improve drainage at the intersection with Wabash Avenue, and correct curbing deficiencies.

A project to fill in gaps along sidewalks on Lakeside Drive from Herschel Street south to Wabash Avenue was put into the 2017 Capital Improvement Plan but is now part of the bridge replacement project. Currently, sidewalks run alternately on both sides of Lakeside Drive, with gaps between where the sidewalk ends on the east side then begins on the west side of the local road. The project is intended to fill in the gaps on the both sides of Lakeside Drive, extending the sidewalk the entire way from Herschel Street to Roosevelt Boulevard if funding allows, Ford said.

Sidewalk woes

Sidewalk repairs, or the lack thereof, is causing one Riverside homeowner a bit of grief and personal injury. A longtime homeowner has been fighting for repairs since 2005.

Angel Corrales has been trying to get the sidewalk in front of his elderly mother’s Park Street home repaired for the past 13 years. She lives across the street from West Riverside Elementary School and earlier this year tripped on the sidewalk, hit her head, broke her glasses and suffered bruises. “She had to pay $300 she didn’t have for new glasses,” said Corrales. “She was afraid to come out of her house for the next two to three weeks, afraid of falling again.”

Corrales said he had taken it upon himself several years ago to find matching hexagonal pavers and began to replace the sidewalk himself, but a city inspector put a halt to his efforts, stating Corrales would need to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Five years ago, after a new neighbor moved in and lodged a complaint with the City about the sidewalk, Public Works marked the sidewalk for repairs, but they were never made. After Corrales’ mother suffered her recent trip and fall, he contacted District 14 Councilman Jim Love’s office, which reported that the repair was in the current fiscal year budget and it should be completed by the end of September.

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