City dealing with unique sidewalk issues

By Dick Mason, The Observer July 08, 2013 11:41 am

Ale Vega, 10, of Island City rides her bicycle over a portion of a sidewalk on McAlister Road which recently buckled. (Dick Mason/The Observer)
Ale Vega, 10, of Island City rides her bicycle over a portion of a sidewalk on McAlister Road which recently buckled. (Dick Mason/The Observer)
 

ISLAND CITY — Sidewalks are popping along Buchanan Lane and McAlister Road in Island City.

Two small portions of the sidewalks have buckled over the past 10 days possibly because of the heat. In both cases two connected concrete panels popped up to form inverted V’s. 

 “We do not know why this is happening, but it may because of the heat, said Island City Mayor Dale DeLong.

The mayor explained that expansion caused by hot weather may have caused the sidewalks to buckle. Two orange cones have been placed at both sites by the city to warn everyone using the sidewalks to be careful.

The buckled sidewalks may be a minor annoyance to some people but not Jennifer Vega and her five children. She leads her children on trips over the sidewalks on McAlister Road and Buchanan Lane several times a week. Vega and her children bicycle, run and use inline skates while going over the sidewalks on their family exercise outings. 

Vega said the buckled sidewalks add an interesting element by posing as minor obstacles. 

“We actually have fun on them,” Vega said. “We have a blast.”

Vega’s 14-year-old son, JR, agrees that the buckled sidewalks add a refreshing twist to his family’s exercise sessions.

“It really makes it fun. It gives me something to do when I’m riding my bike,” he said.

Jennifer Vega said the portions of sidewalk on McAlister Road and Buchanan Lane which buckled seemed to do so instantly. The segments would be fine one day and the next one would be buckled, she said. 

The city will soon attempt to flatten the buckled sidewalks, DeLong said. Should efforts to do this not be successful, the city will remove the buckled sidewalk panels and replace them.

No sidewalks in La Grande have buckled. Seven or eight years ago, though, a portion of the sidewalk on 21st Street in La Grande did buckle during the summer. While the exact cause of the buckling was unknown, Ray Crapo, street and storm sewer superintendent for La Grande, said extreme heat may have been the cause.

The City of La Grande tore out the buckled portion of the 21st Street sidewalk and replaced it.

Crapo said long stretches of sidewalk like those on Buchanan Lane and McAlister Road in Island City may be more vulnerable to buckling when temperatures heat up. He explained that the longer a sidewalk is, the higher the pressure build up when concrete expands due to heat. 

The McAlister Road stretch of sidewalk where buckling occurred is four-tenths of a mile long, and the buckled Buchanan Lane sidewalk is part of a half-mile stretch of sidewalk. Buckling occurred near the middle of both stretches of sidewalk. 

 

Contact Dick Mason at 541-786-5386 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Dick on Twitter @lgoMason.