Thursday, November 02, 2017

Don't step on a crack...

 Recently, I saw that a knee-high black plastic tarp had been placed in a shallow ditch in front of my house.

In fact, as far as I could see, it was stretched in front of ALL the houses on my side of the street.

A few days before, I had noticed colorfully painted lines on the pavement - blue, orange, yellow, and green - that showed where gas, water, and sewer lines were located.

I expected some construction digging was going to happen. Been down that street before.

Years ago, the city had dug up water connection pipes in the middle of the street.

During that activity, a gas line had been clipped and the distinctive rotten egg smell filled the air.

There was an adrenaline-rush of activity as word was spread of the possible danger.

But, the leak was quickly repaired. No harm, no foul.

So it was comforting that efforts had been made to locate potential danger zones.

The contracted labor force showed up and starting to carve away a large portion of the lawn I had kept mowing by the street.

I knew it was right-of-way but nobody else came by to cut it so I would hop on my riding mower.

Heavy equipment arrived and dug out a rough path of what would become a sidewalk.

The city had sent out a flyer to all of the homes affected by this new addition on my side of the street.

It described the why, how, and when and - happily - assured us it was funded by a grant so home-owners would not be assessed for the improvement.


Chatting with some neighbors, we realized it was to be a limited length of sidewalk.

Children walked along this street to their school bus pickup points.

The concern was for their safety.

In the afternoon, flocks of after-schoolers walked down the middle of the street, to the consternation of impatient drivers.

This project would help the drivers and increase safety for the walkers.

After the path was cut, the root-filled dirt was hauled away and fresh construction soil was laid down as a smooth foundation.

I quickly learned that half the workers were "Soil guys" and the others were the "Concrete team."

Each was doing its part up and down the street, in sequence to allow the next step to be taken.

That step appeared to be the placement of wooden strips to form the sides and ends for the later pouring of concrete. I believe those are called"forms."

Once the foundation was made and the forms placed, a large cement (concrete?) truck rumbled up the street.

It gets in place, its long chute is extended and wet concrete comes sliding down.

Now the "concrete team" uses a long 2x4 to push and massage it into all the cracks and crannies to make it uniform.

Several "finishers" follow along with long-handled tools
to buff and smooth the quickly drying surface.

Eventually, there's just one man on his knees, giving the surface a final touch with his trowel.

By now, it's starting to look like a sidewalk - but - something is missing.

There are no "cracks" in it.

I was told that once it had hardened or cured, another team member comes back with a saw and cuts the lines.

These allow for expansion and contraction and that helps to keep it from cracking. Your Mother's Back is not a factor.

The teams are now working further down the street.

My strip of lawn that has been altered is just about ready for foot traffic.

I keep receiving mail and putting mail out front with the red flag up for the mailman to retrieve.

Not sure what was the purpose of the tarp?

The teams have to do special work on driveways so they'll be back again nearby.

My only complaint so far is a dangling wire that was snapped by one of the sidewalk builders vehicles.

It is nose-high for the school children who soon will be passing by on the safety addition walkway.

Human nature means someone is going to yank on it and I'd like to see that avoided.

When I mentioned it to the crew, I was told to call the cable company.

Hmmm, I don't have cable, just internet online service, and it's working fine so apparently, I am not affected by the broken line.

I was advised by a passing police officer I flagged down to call the power company to attend to it.

He was right, it IS attached to a power company line, so I'll give them a call about a fallen line.

That should get a response.

(Click on links and photos for more details.)

Enlarge the last photo to see the wire that's bothering me.

Thanks for "taking a walk" with me.

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