Saturday, August 29, 2009

Brick street becomes a hazard

People like the brick streets in the part of Moline where I live but some of them are getting difficult to drive on. 18th Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets got so bad this spring it was damaging the undersides of cars and had to be completely rebuilt -- the bricks removed, the road bed redone and the bricks relaid in a month-long labor-intensive project that I heard people in City Hall referring to as "extremely expensive." Now a portion of 18th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets is starting to buckle up in the same way.

Will another "extremely expensive" project be necessary?


Anonymous said...

I live in Rockford, IL and we too have brick neighborhood streets that remain in service since being built 80 or 90 years ago. The non-brick streets and avenues in similar locations have generally been resurfaced more than once in that same time period. Our brick streets (non-brick as well) suffer most from manhole collapse and the like. It is my belief that our brick streets would be in uniformly excellent condition if they received maintenance equal to 10% of the labor and cost of the frequent resurfacing required of other types of road surfaces.

An added problem we have is that there are problems with our 90 year old water and sewer systems under our streets. Our city crews must cut holes in newly resurfaced streets often within a year of the resurfacing. I like brick streets because those sewer and water system repairs can be done and not affect the street as the bricks are lifted and replaced in a near invisible manner and without creating weaknesses to the surface.

Daniel from Rockford

Marg said...

Also, brick streets are permeable, which helps prevent flooding because the rain water gets absorbed in the ground. Repair costs for the brick 23rd street in Rock Island were discussed at a block club meeting we went to recently.

QC Examiner said...

I'm a big fan of all things antique, but fixing a little-used street like 18th Ave. seems like a luxury the city of Moline can't really afford.

I don't live in Moline now, but from what I've read, the city, like many others, is in a world of hurt because of the economic downturn and is cutting back, laying off workers and talking about raising taxes.

For ever, our political class has showered us with goodies, while ignoring the cost and kicking the can down the road, assuming that good times would last for ever.

Infrastructure needs major overhaul but the money isn't there and the politicians don't want to ask for it. What's needed is a sort of triage to determine how to spend scarce resources on the most used and most dire projects---not on a quaint brick street that not even the residents use much, if at all (I'm assuming the garages are in the back of the lots and are accessed by alley).

Back in the day when I was doing real estate stuff, Moline had special assessments for projects like this. But it may be that the rise in cost of both labor and material has made this sort of special tax moot.

As I said at the beginning, I don't have a dog---or brick in this fight, but with money tight, municipalites need to be smarter about how they use taxpayer money.