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Brick Roads Are Wonderful – If They Are Maintained

Study after study says brick roads last longer than asphalt roads.

And we don’t disagree that brick roads, laid properly, will last longer than asphalt roads.

But just because the bricks last longer doesn’t mean the road is worth driving on. Ask any resident of Howard Street, or any resident of Superior Street, what it’s like driving on their wonderful, historic, quaint and, don’t forget, teeth-rattling brick road.

For all the talk about preserving a city’s history – and that has been the argument in favor of many of Jamestown’s brick roads over the years – drivers know that brick roads are the best form of traffic control for those who don’t want to be replacing their car’s shocks and struts every year or two. We probably could have saved quite a bit of money and simple turned the area near Persell Middle School into brick roads. Within a couple of years there would have been built-in speed bumps that no one would have had to maintain.

We mention Superior Street for a reason. That street, with its brick road and older style homes, paints a wonderful picture of Jamestown. But driving on Superior Street before its current reconstruction project has been a shock-splitter for some two decades. Areas of the street required drivers concerned with the well-being of their car – and their back – to come to nearly a complete stop to navigate the heaved bricks. One notable area of heaved brick road would make a driver consider an off-road suspension package typically used to climb mountainous trails.

You may not believe this, but we love the look of brick roads as much as anyone. But when they are left heaved for year after year it makes us question why we cling so hard to that piece of our history. Our city’s DPW staff and the money available to pay for road projects isn’t as big as it used to be, so we’re sure one area that has gone by the wayside over the years is regular maintenance of brick roads beyond replacement of bricks. That only goes so far when the road underneath heaves and creates off-road conditions.

We’re sure Jamestown will always have brick roads. But that means we also have to find a way to maintain them before they get to the point of Howard Street or Superior Street – and make no mistake about it, there are plenty of brick roads in Jamestown that fit that description.

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