Central Coast

DEAR JON: Monterey's El Estero Park bridge walkways need work

Weathered and loose boards, nails sticking out pose a problem for residents

Central Coast cities continue to suffer from a lack of funds and that leaves infrastructure projects on the drawing board. Most cities do have a maintenance budget, but Mryna asks, "Dear Jon, I walk on the wooden sidewalks over El Estero Lake every day, does the city of Monterey even know that the boards are falling apart?"

I tracked down Jeff Krebbs, the Monterey city engineer who actually headed up the construction for the redesign of the El Estero Bridge sidewalks on Pearl Street in 1992. He says 26 years has taken its toll on the wooden boards on the sidewalks.

Upon inspection of the bridge walkway boards over El Estero Lake I saw several loose boards, weathered cracked boards and nails sticking up out of the planks. Krebbs was quick to point out that this 1992 redesign actually won an award from Caltrans. The city kicked in an additional $450,000 to add the redwood sidewalks on the Pearl Street bridges as a unique flair across the lake.

But after hearing from News Channel 5 about the disrepair, Krebbs admits they have work to do on the wooden planks, "Now that we have become aware, someone has given us a notice of it, we do an annual inspection, we're going to come here and survey the situation because there a few boards in disrepair."

"99 percent of the boards are the original boards that are 26 years old," says Krebbs.

On Wednesday, I met Krebbs on the north side of Pearl Street at Camino El Estero, his colleague was spraying the places crews will need to repair and the paint will act as a warning for pedestrians. This particular section leads to the youth center and Dennis the Menace Park and is heavily traveled, and it shows.

The big issue is funding say Krebbs, "Currently we're not funded to replace all the boards on both sides of the bridge. We'll go through and paint the highest areas that we think we need to address now."

So you ask "Dear Jon" and you get some action from the city.

Will Monterey make this project a priority in their $250,000 annual city budget for fixing sidewalks? Krebbs says he doesn't know. He says that the head of Capital Projects for the city, Bob Harary, makes that call. But he will turn in the requisitions for the repairs and that's a good start.

We'll keep our eye on it.

Email me your question at ‘DearJon@KIONRightNow.com.' I'm also on Facebook and Twitter, search for 'Jon K Brent KION' or 'DearJonKBrent."

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