Receiving a DOT stamped letter in the mail can give you the jitters on an early work morning. We get it, the stress is real and very straining. Violations tend to show up in the most unexpected manner at the most unexpected time and specially when you’ve already got your plate full. Such sudden notices may take a toll on a person’s mental state, so let us tell you this: This is not a threatening situation. Many people in New York receive violations and this might not be a very troublesome issue, so take a deep breath and relax. With the right amount of guidance, you can easily get this violation taken care of.
You might be wondering what went wrong that made the New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) send you a Violation Notice. You’ve been a good NYC citizen, following the traffic rules, paying your dues in time, a responsible taxpayer, so why the violation notice now? DOT deals with the road safety and sidewalk maintenance so it has got to do something with the space outside your property. Even if you’ve been maintaining your sidewalks every few months, Mother Nature is always at work. Sometimes there are certain natural phenomena which can’t be avoided; leading to some defects in your curb or sidewalk. Since you have received a notice by the DOT, there’s obviously something wrong with your sidewalk - which must be fixed within 45 days.
Now, all of this might sound confusing at first, but don’t worry. Let us break down the possible causes of a Sidewalk Violation Notice received by you. Keep reading and once you’re done, go out and check your sidewalk to see whether these issues exist in your sidewalk.
Read on:
1. Uplifting of Panels
A primary reason of sidewalk violation issuance is the uplifting of panels in a sidewalk, be it concrete or asphalt. The panels of a concrete sidewalk can get uplifted in two ways, either vertically or horizontally. In layman terms, a vertical lift means when the joints of a sidewalk are raised an inch or a few inches in vertical direction. A horizontal lift has the same concept, the joints of the panel are uprooted from the ground causing a hollow in the soil beneath and both these kinds of uplifting can lead to severe tripping hazards which could result in minor to major injuries. The cause of this uplifting is usually because of freezing and thawing of ice during temperature changes or the existence of tree roots near the sidewalk which cause a certain panel of the sidewalk to rise up with the weight of the rigid tree roots. Now here’s the good news, in certain cases if it is proven that the problems in your sidewalk are caused by tree roots, then you have to direct your violation notice to the Department of Parks and Recreation who will get this problem fixed at their expense, which means you neither need to worry about the permits or the inspection processes, as the DOT will take care of it themselves. Phew!
2. Sinking of Panels
Whereas uplifting of panels is caused by the pressure of tree roots from below the soil, sinking of panels can take place when a certain part of the panel constantly undergoes weight and gets sunken down due to the constant pressure on the soil beneath the slab which causes the panels to lose their height. Another possible cause of sunken panels could be soil erosion but this can only be figured out once a contractor inspects the area of damage. For more information on how to repair such panels and level them back up, read here.
3. Holes and Cracks
When you’re taking a stroll in your favorite park or walking down the road for quick errands, cracks and gaps are usually the most commonly noticed things and usually kids avoid walking over them, right? Various kinds of holes or depressions can be found on defected sidewalks which can be larger than 3 inches in diameter and may be up to half an inch in depth. The shapes of these cracks could resemble a shattered glass or a spider web. The cause of these cracks can be heavy pedestrian traffic or usage of heavy machinery on a particular section. For more information on the causes of cracking in your sidewalk, give this blog a read before moving further.
4. Spalling
Spalling is the condition in which the topmost layer of the concrete sidewalk starts to peel off showing the base material or aggregates used in the construction of the sidewalk. This is caused by deterring of the cement in concrete which can be up to ½ inch deep. The main cause of spalling is the contact of excessive water with the concrete, and as moisture weakens cement, it results in scraping of the cement from the top layer. This is a slow process and with time the concrete layer on top starts to get flaky. Another possible cause of flaky concrete surface could be poor method of installation previously used. If not looked after immediately, it may lead to further disruption of the sidewalk and might require a complete replacement of the panel over time.
5. Missing Panels
Sometimes the joints of a sidewalk can get weakened over time, losing grip on the panels of the sidewalk causing a panel to break down and get washed away due to the foot traffic in a busy area. A panel can go missing after breaking down in smaller pieces or might get swayed by tires or heavy machinery that could have happened to pass by. It is easy to call for a panel replacement with a private or general contractor.
Now that you’ve identified the problems in your sidewalk, go forward with these steps which will equip you with the necessary sidewalk repairment knowledge. Once you’ve learnt of the repairs, make sure you follow these steps and apply for a dismissal within 45 days!
Good luck!

Author's Bio: 

Eden General Construction is a New York City general contractor specializing in roofing, masonry work, home improvements, concrete services and more.