Making bricks

Published 7:07 am Saturday, November 6, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The city streetscape project has been a long, torn-up, winding road for the entire city. But the end of the road is in sight.
Crews were busy all along Main Street Friday, starting the final phase of the streetscape project, which is expected to be completed within the next couple of weeks.
The DDA has also set a tentative date for the official unveiling of the completed streetscape project for Dec. 4, Croteau said.
The unveiling has been dubbed "Holiday Homecoming" by the DDA promotions committee.
Details of the unveling and the activites surrounding it were unavailable, but Croteau said "it's going to be something special."
Workers from Gallagher Asphalt of Chicago added a unique touch to the streetscape project. The company created the illusion of bricked walkways using an unusual technique.
First, the asphalt where the process would take place was heated to over 300 degrees fahrenheit to soften it. Workers then used a brick template, or stencil, and plate compactor to press the brick pattern into the asphalt.
After the pattern was pressed, a plastic material was placed in the grooves and melted to provide a visual guide for walkers as they cross the street, said Mike Ulanowski, a foreman with Gallagher Asphalt.
The walkways provide a more unique and cohesive element to the downtown project, Croteau said.
Workers from Hunzikers, 2344 Yankee St., began the landscaping work for the streetscape project as well Friday.
Assistant Public Works Director Joe Ray said the entire project is coming along pretty smoothly.
All the trash cans and benches are installed downtown and most of the bollards, poles designed to prevent vehicles from driving over the curb at corners, have been installed.
The majority of the work left to be completed for the project includes having the utilities department complete the wiring for the light poles and having the irrigation system for the planters installed.
The light poles which will be installed on Main Street will match those which are currently installed on Front and Sycamore streets, Croteau said.
Ray said how quickly the remaining work for the streetscape project will be completed will be determined by the weather.
The DDA recently removed the planters from the Main Street bridge due to the high winds experienced over the past weekend.
Croteau wanted to assure everyone the planters will return next year, they were only removed to prevent the loss of any due to weather damage.