New Lower Valley sidewalk blocks neighborhood driveways

EL PASO, Texas - Residents of a Lower Valley neighborhood said they were excited about their new sidewalk being put in until they saw the new addition blocking their driveways.

In some places the concrete rises more than 4 inches above the dirt, right over residents driveways.

"How do you get in and out? That's a concern of the residents down here,"  said neighbor Daniel Arellano.

Nearly all of the homes on Schutz Street have dirt driveways that connect to a paved main roadway

Construction crews did create small ramps with dirt on either side of the walkway, but many residents said those won't last, especially given that the city is in the height of the rainy season.

"Once the water gets here, it'll just wash away and it's going to be the same thing again," said Mario Saenz.

According to those who live in the area, the new sidewalks were supposed to aid foot traffic, especially those who are disabled.

"What they've told me is that this is a program that is implemented to help the handicapped come through, but we haven't seen no handicapped," said Arellano.

After hearing about the issues the neighborhood is facing, ABC-7 contacted city officials to find out what was going to be done to the area to fix the issue.

"We are keeping the condition that they had before. We are not changing any of that. We are not going into the property. We are not changing the lot. We are not changing the property at all. If they had pavement, it will continue to be there. If they had a dirt lot, it will continue to be a dirt lot," said Ted Marquez, deputy director for the Department of Transportation.

For the time being, dirt will be piled on either side of the walkway until more permanent concrete berms can be installed next week.

City officials also said the new sidewalks wouldn't interfere with drainage or traffic, but that if homeowners wanted to extend the concrete from the sidewalk to their homes, the cost would be on the residents.

According to a local concrete company, paving a driveway would cost at least $2,000 per home.

Ultimately, residents are just hoping they won't have to be stuck with the bill.

"We hope this problem with the driveways is rectified, and it shouldn't come out of the resident's pocket," said Arellano.

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