SALEM - Motorists won't be hitting the bricks on downtown Salem's major intersections much longer.
City Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst said they'll be removing the brick crosswalks on East State Street at Ellsworth, Broadway and Lincoln avenues and paving the areas instead. The project is part of the city's 2012 street paving program.
Kenst explained that with the amount of truck traffic driving through downtown, the bricks wear down and end up below the concrete surface, causing a bump when traffic hits them and a rattling of the buildings.
"I've had a lot of complaints from downtown store owners," he said.
The bricks on the streets and on the sidewalks were all part of a downtown revitalization project in the early 1990s meant to improve the look of the city. Over the years, repairs have been made due to the bricks sinking down in the road, usually with bricks replaced.
This time, though, Kenst said the bricks are coming out and will not be replaced.
Central Allied of Canton was the successful low bidder for the 2012 Street Paving Program for $483,842, which is below the engineer's estimate of $498,000 to pave sections of 13 different streets, along with paving the brick sections. R.T. Vernal of North Lima was the only other bidder, with a bid of $494,712.
The work is expected to begin July 1, with Kenst saying they really pushed to get it done in the summer instead of later in the fall. He said they'll be coordinating with Columbia Gas of Ohio, which is working on a massive project to replace gas lines in Salem, to ensure streets which are part of their project aren't paved until their work is done.
Kenst said the list of streets includes the worst ones "where road crews spend an exhorbitant amount of time patching all year."
The street list includes the following streets:
Perry Street, from South Broadway Avenue to South Lundy Avenue, and from South Lincoln Avenue to South Avenue.
Aetna Street, from South Lincoln Avenue to South Broadway Avenue.
Columbia Street, from Penn Avenue to South Lundy Avenue.
Mullins Street, from South Ellsworth Avenue to Newgarden Avenue.
Newgarden Avenue, from the railroad tracks to West Wilson Street.
Howard Street, from West Wilson Street to West State Street.
South Lincoln Avenue, from East State Street to East Pershing Street.
Maple Street, from South Union Avenue to Park Avenue, and from South Madison Avenue 100 feet west.
Oak Street, from South Madison Avenue 100 feet west.
Fourth Street, from North Broadway Avenue to North Ellsworth Avenue.
Seventh Street, from North Ellsworth Avenue to North Broadway Avenue, and from Superior Avenue 100 feet west.
Jennings Avenue, 200 feet between West 10th Street and Rea Drive.
North Lincoln Avenue, from East Ninth Street to the city limits.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org