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Lake Saint Louis Board formally adopts ‘street movement’ policy

It’s official, Lake Saint Louis now has a policy on paper to help at least some residents deal with “street movement” damage on driveways and foundations.

The city’s Board of Aldermen approved a resolution by a 6-0 vote authorizing a “street movement damage prevention policy” to guide the city’s public works department in dealing with complaints from city residents.

The board, with city staff, reviewed the city’s previous policy at its June and July work sessions and the agreed to take a more active role in helping residents deal with the “street creep” that has shown up recently in local subdivisions.

Street creep refers to the movement of street concrete, which expands during hot weather and contracts during cold weather.  The result is concrete pushing driveway slabs into homes causing cracks in foundation walls.

Residents from the Townhomes at Prominence, on May 7, asked the city’s Board of Aldermen for help, saying their foundations are beginning to crack. Since 2004, the board has chosen not to pay for street creep damage, while other nearby cities, particularly O’Fallon, are helping some of their homeowners with repairs.

Aldermen delayed action at the May 7 meeting but agreed to help mitigate the problem after a report by City Public Works Director Derek Koestel.

The resolution includes policy guidelines that note that street movement concerns are mitigated with the proper use of expansion joints in driveways and adjacent to streets and structures. Expansion joints are narrow strips cut in a driveway or between a driveway and street where fiberboard and other material is added to limit the movement of concrete pressing up from the street. The joints isolate the driveway and building from the street. The guidelines further note that “It is the builder’s responsibility to properly construct the expansion joints and the resident’s responsibility to maintain the joints.”

Adding construction joints is work that can be performed by most concrete contractors.

If possible street movement is identified, property owners can notify the public works department and city staff for an inspection of the property and a recommendation on a solution.

If bad construction methods are identified outside of city rights-of-way, the property owner is responsible for adding expansion joints. It is recommended that the property owner contact their homebuilder, insurance company and home warranty program, if they have one, to file a claim for damages.

Property owners can apply to the city to help pay for an expansion joint if the city has money available.  The building of a joint will involve removing three inches of driveway or more, if gap is larger, filling it with material and sealing it.

The service is not available for driveways on private streets. The city also will not maintain or replace any expansion joints located outside the city’s rights-of-way. The guideline policy states that the city takes no responsibility or liability for damage to private property or chipping and cracking on adjacent concrete.

City Administrator Paul Markworth said last month that the city could afford about $400 for joint work at individual homes but will not pay for foundation damage caused by driveway slabs causing cracks in foundations.

Some residents have told city officials that they are facing repairs of up to $35,000 or more as well as a loss in the property value of their homes.

Markworth said the money to pay for repairs done by the city will come from the city street fund.  There may be about 20 homes in the city facing this situation, he said.


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