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Jackson Sidewalk Repair

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - The City of Jackson's sidewalks are now getting a makeover after lawsuits claimed they did not meet ADA standards and were unacceptable for handicapped persons to travel on.

Supporters of the sidewalk upgrade, like Norris Branack, say they are happy to see this change happening.

"Cracked grass, some just not even there you know basically dirt has grown over them and they're chipped off," Branack said.

Branack said for those confined to a wheelchair, many of the sidewalks in Jackson are a nightmare to travel on.

"Just that little bump can really mean a lot to someone in a chair," Branack said. "When you're unsure of where you're going and especially when you see the sidewalk has ended or you can't see it... then the street sometimes becomes the only option."

After several complaints and even a lawsuit filed against the city of Jackson, street department officials said the city is now required to fix more than 267,000 linear feet of sidewalk that has been deemed non complaint with ADA standards.

"Whether it's cracked up, one section is higher than another section, it's a trip hazard, there's an obstruction in the way... there is just something that has to be done to where the handicap person can get from one intersection to the next," Buddy Crick, Deputy Supt. Jackson Street Department. said " We are trying to make things where you can get to the courthouse, you can get to the City Hall, you can get to your downtown church... we're just making up for what wasn't being done in the past."

Officials said they're required to repair 5 percent or roughly 13,000 linear feet of sidewalk each year over the next 20 years. Workers said they will also be making every intersection handicap accessible with the appropriate ramps.

"It's just wonderful, it's like getting a brand new car it makes you feel good to know they know it's needed and it isn't just for people in chairs that benefits everybody," Branack said.

Officials with Jackson Street Department said their engineers are trying to target the most traveled areas in the city first. Crews have already started making repairs on a mile and half stretch of sidewalk in Bemis.

Crick told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News the city's deadline to complete the entire sidewalk project is in 2035.