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Concrete sidewalks to replace worn-out wooden boardwalk in Old Sacramento

A $7.7 million project will replace the worn-out wooden plank boardwalk in Old Sacramento with concrete to improve riverfront access for people with disabilities.

Splintered, worn-out and decayed wooden plank sidewalks in Old Sacramento have troubled the city for at least 10 years. In response to an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit that required the city to improve accessibility of the waterfront, the city will tear out planks between Front Street and the businesses on the docks and replace them with stamped concrete.

“(The) current boardwalk has exceeded its life,” said project manager Kirk Thompson. “We worked for a long time to see what is right thing to do for that part of Sacramento.”

The project has been in the works since 2013 and has received approvals from municipal and federal departments because Old Sacramento is a national historic landmark.

Old Sacramento attracts approximately 3 million visitors each year. The current project will bring LED lights, metal handrails and additional sidewalks to the area, Thompson said.

“We have had significant complaints about people being injured on the boardwalk,” said Steve Hansen, the Sacramento city councilman who represents the district. “We have a responsibility to make sidewalks and boardwalks safe, and this will be a significant improvement.”

The construction will be completed in six sections to not interfere with nearby businesses, Thompson said. The construction will be staged to avoid prime visitor seasons, Hansen said. Final plans for the project will be discussed by the City Council in early May. Sacramento-based Unger Construction is expected to start construction in June and finish by Thanksgiving.

“This is going to make Old Sacramento a spectacular place for the public to visit,” said Brooksie Hughes, Old Sacramento district director. “We hope to provide more programs and activities for families. Things like that would be a lot easier with a safer environment.”

The city promises to bring more improvements to the district. The project’s second phase, once approved by multiple agencies, will include floating barges for events, improvements for the Delta King Hotel and more visitor amenities, Thompson said.

Walter Ko: 916-321-1436, @juntaeko

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