Monday, March 12, 2012

Somerset Street Reconstruction Part 3: Wider sidewalks

Here in the third part of the 15-part series on the 2011 reconstruction of Somerset Street West, we'll follow up on the Previous post about sidewalks by marching up the hill in Chinatown. On foot, of course.

In December, the curbs at Booth Street were being laid for the new sidewalks outside Nasa Food Centre. Behind them, the old sidewalks were still in place. You can see how much more room pedestrians have been afforded on the sidewalks.

In September, the work at Rochester Street was still only a few weeks in. The sidewalks were dug up pretty badly.

As with the section west of Preston, Somerset Street West between Preston and Booth will also get new sidewalks with a paver pattern. Here you can see all four steps of their construction: from front to back, the gravel bed, a layer of sand, the pavers laid, and sand spread overtop to fill in the cracks.

The consensus for the colour of the bricks was "Heritage Brown", which comes across like a shade of red, a lucky colour for Chinatown.

Even though the pavers are put in a pattern, they are delivered with each size brick on its own pallet. As long as the weather permitted, workers isntalled pavers up the hill. Concrete pads in the curb depressions help to define the driveway entrances.

The roadway was hastily paved before winter came in. These drains would be dug up next spring and raised, and a new layer of asphalt will go on top of this one. This is a fairly standard practice for road reconstructions; it gives a chance for the roadbed to settle, and for other quirks to appear in time to repair them. In the meantime, little asphalt lips are added at the curb cuts to bridge the distance.

The parts of the sidewalk that couldn't be done in time before winter were paved in asphalt and will be completed next year (the same goes for Bank Street in the Glebe).

The south sidewalk at Booth was even further behind, and was even more hastily patched up for the winter.

All of the bulbouts and curb variations necessitated much cutting of bricks to fit, but the workers did a good job of it.

There's just a bit more work to do, and the street furniture hasn't yet been added, but when it's done the street will look very nice.

And there are your new sidewalks!

Next time, in part 4, I'll take a detour down the sidewalks along Rochester and Spruce, before returning to this stretch of Somerset in part 5 to talk about the roadwork between the sidewalks, and some of the historical surprises that arose when Somerset Street was dug up!

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