2003-10-24 / Front Page

City To Raise Some Sidewalks By 14"

By Brian Magoolaghan
City To Raise Some Sidewalks By 14"

City To Raise Some Sidewalks By 14"


Hessler Avenue residents Sam Soopper­saud, left, and Eddie Diresto illustrate where the sidewalk will be when the city completes a Somerville construction plan.Hessler Avenue residents Sam Soopper­saud, left, and Eddie Diresto illustrate where the sidewalk will be when the city completes a Somerville construction plan.

By Brian Magoolaghan

Homeowners in one Rockaway community fear that a city construction project, already underway, will cause flooding and access problems at their properties.

The city’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is replacing the water main and sewer system in the Somerville section of Rockaway, on Hessler Avenue, between Beach 69 and Beach 72 Streets. DDC spokesperson Matthew Monahan said that because a greater pitch is needed for the pipes, the roadway and sidewalk would be lifted by several inches in some spots.

Property owners who live near the middle of Hessler Avenue said DDC engineers told them the sidewalks would be raised by about 14 inches. When that happens they may lose their fences, some of their front steps, and their driveways will be lower than the sidewalk and street.


The ongoing construction project, and lingering debris is making life on Hessler Avenue more difficult. Diresto said he has had to clean up after construction workers.The ongoing construction project, and lingering debris is making life on Hessler Avenue more difficult. Diresto said he has had to clean up after construction workers.

"We appreciate and welcome the improvement but if it goes contrary to what we have now it’s going to cause hardship," said Sam Sooppersaud. In addition to the new water main and sewers, the project includes manholes, catch basins, sanitary and storm sewers, street and traffic lights, pedestrian ramps, and planting of more trees.

Sooppersaud said the sidewalk would form a barrier wall that will keep water in his driveway and yard, possibly causing his first floor to flood. It will also mean that the driveways will have to be modified for cars to be able to get in and out.

Monahan said the DDC sent "property specific" letters to homeowners in the area explaining their limited options. The DDC has offered to build concrete or asphalt ramps that would bridge the road and driveways. "The objective is to be compatible to what exists," Monahan said. As for the steps and fences, Monahan said, if they are on city property the homeowner is out of luck. "Some people find that their property line is well within the area to which they are living," he said.

Another concerned resident, Eddie Diresto, said DDC engineers suggested that he raise his driveway with cement and fill in his yard with soil. But Diresto insists his house, built by his father and uncle in 1956, sits at the "legal grade." Monahan said that while many houses on Hessler are built to grade, the surrounding property falls well below.

Work on Hessler Avenue continued this week.


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