The Street Improvement Project

I became intrigued with the Street Project as I watched the preparations come together to do the paving. Now, I'm from an old traditional Italian family, and quite familiar with cement work, having fitted cement boots on customers since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. So a few obvious things sort of stood out.

The entire level of the street was apparently being raised well equal to or above the level of entry ways into the houses. It must have caught the attention of others, also, because many of the home owners had their own frantic projects (like the doorway at right) going to build high berms to raise their doorways.

The size of the aggregate fill (4-inch to 6-inch) is actually sort of attention getting. That, plus the height of the drain covers, were the first signal that this was probably a government project.

As sections were poured, another thing that caught my eye was the nobody was using a screen (there's probably a technical name for the process) to push the aggregate down into the pour to keep it from showing at the surface. Then the rock lumps show at the surface , they get hit, kicked and worn away, leaving little holes in an otherwise smooth surface. And then, before you know is, there's big holes in the cement. Whole sections of several square yards we being built as little minefields of protruding rock edges. The first two things I thought of were shoeless kids and bicycle tires.

Well, eventually the job was completed, bringing great luxeries to lives that had never experienced such modernization. Of course, there were a few low spots , and several places where the drains were build too high for the water to get into them because lips were built around them to make a less-rugged surface.

Overall, I gave the project a "D" for effort and execution. Within the last month I was there, March, 1998, there were several spots that people steered clear of because of the sharp rocks protruding, and because areas immediately around the drain covers had worn holes large enough to get a foot stuck in and to stop a bike or motorcycle tire dead in its tracks.