The City of Calgary (The City) has a multimillion-dollar sidewalk replacement backlog. The condition-based preventive maintenance and the corrective maintenance are faced with challenges with limited manpower to conduct condition assessments and funding for sidewalk maintenance.
A survey of the current sidewalk designs specified across major municipalities in Canada confirmed that the sidewalk structure in Calgary, including concrete thickness and the use of granular base materials, is one of the thinnest. The most common sidewalk damage/failure patterns in cold climates are well recognized, but the impact of the sidewalk design on the service life and the maintenance needs relies predominantly on limited inspections and reporting process for the asset. The structural assessment of different sidewalk designs was conducted using the finite element analysis (FEA). The model inputs were selected based on local climate and variations in concrete thickness, base material thickness, and soil conditions. A total of 36 models were analyzed for structural adequacy and the findings of the FEA formed the basis for the Best Construction Practices recommendations for concrete sidewalks in Calgary. The rationale behind the recommended changes to the sidewalk structure is discussed in conjunction with the need for a more stringent quality assurance and verification process. The life cycle cost analysis of selected designs is provided. The importance of data management to assess the effectiveness of the sidewalk repairs and to determine the rate of sidewalk deterioration is recognized.