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Residents on Columbine Drive say sidewalk project caused unwanted runoff

City of Durango says it’s not responsible for water-pooling issues
Columbine Drive homeowner Laurel Hall cleans water off her walkway Tuesday in west Durango. She says the city of Durango replaced the sidewalk in front of her house causing a water-pooling issue, but the city says it didn’t do anything that would have caused water to pool. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

A number of residents along Columbine Drive in west Durango say sidewalk construction completed last year has diverted water onto their walkways.

“They’ve made the sidewalks so high that the water drains off of the sidewalk and onto my walkway,” said Columbine Drive resident Laurel Hall. “At 88 years old, I can’t afford an ice rink.”

Hall and neighbors say the sidewalk was raised during construction, creating a slope on some walkways that diverts water onto private property. Hall fears for her safety this winter when the water on her walkway turns icy.

“All I want is for it to be safe for me to walk out there and get my paper,” Hall said.

Hall said the walkway was not much of an issue last winter because it was a light winter, but she has concerns about the upcoming season.

Laurel Hall walks to her home Tuesday after rains carried slippery mud onto her walkway. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

After reaching out to the city about her walkway concerns, Hall was told that city staff members couldn’t help because her walkway is on private property.

Durango street superintendent Mike Somsen said the sidewalks are the same height they’ve always been, and that it is not causing the backwater issues for some Columbine Drive residents.

“The city cannot go on private property and do that work,” Somsen said. “We cannot replace the sidewalk up to her front door, and that’s what she wants.”

Hall said she’s spoken with four other homeowners on Columbine who are having similar issues. One of them, Marie Carlson, said she told the city she was concerned about construction swamping her walkway before workers started the replacement project.

“They didn’t do what I requested,” Carlson said. “I called the city and told them it needs to be angled toward my house, otherwise water is just going to sit there.”

Sidewalks on Columbine Drive were completed in phases, and Carlson’s sidewalk was replaced two years ago. The sidewalk project, partially funded through a Safe Routes to School grant, was completed Oct. 5, 2020.

“I get quite a bit of ice that gathers from the sidewalk to my door because they raised everything up so high.” Carlson said.

Hall and Carlson both said they are happy with the improvements made to the sidewalk, they just wish it didn’t come with flooding to their walkways.

“I didn’t mess it up,” Hall said. “They should fix it.”

njohnson@durangoherald.com

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