City of Flint, Michigan To Replace Bricks Downtown
Imagine, it's 1898... you're driving a horse & carriage through Downtown Flint. For the first time, you're driving on bricks instead of dirt. That's a REALLY big deal for the time.
Now, imagine your surprise when, in 1936, the city of Flint decides Saginaw Street is going to get an incredible upgrade -- digging up all of the bricks, pouring concrete, replacing all of the bricks on top of said concrete -- to make it better, modern. Remember, cars were just becoming a thing. That type of investment was incredible for the time.
Fast forward to 2022 -- guess what's happening for the first time in 86 years?! The bricks are being replaced! Remember, the previous time was only a 38-year gap! If you've driven Downtown Flint anytime in the last several years, you know it's time. You can see and feel the heaving of the bricks -- especially at intersections with patches of tar filling potholes. Bricks shift and dip over time with the turning of tires under the weight of cars, too.
This time, Saginaw Street will look a little different. Almost 1,000,000 bricks make up the historical portion we've all driven before. Many bricks will be saved and re-used. While the rest will be sourced from companies that preserve historical road pavers to look uniform in appearance.
According to a piece by Kate Stockrahm with Flint Beat, intersections will NOT have bricks anymore. That's where the most shifting and heaving happens as people turn their cars. Now, that will be paved and stamped to look like bricks but hold up much better over time (and easier reconstruction as needed).
The project was supposed to have started this year but has been postponed a bit longer due to a water main replacement needing to happen. Common sense says, why rip up the bricks twice!? Sidewalks and crosswalk upgrades will happen during the project, too. Be patient when it begins because they're replacing individual bricks, not dropping 20 tons of tar to flatten into a roadway! City Engineer Mark Adas shared those details with mlive.
Cheers to the City of Flint for making this happen. Can't wait to see what it looks like when finished.
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