Brick streets

A car drives down a section of South Street, near 18th Street. The Blair City Council will consider bids to repair four areas of brick streets during its regular meeting tonight.

Work on Blair's brick streets could begin as soon as this spring, according to the city's public works director.

The Blair City Council is expected to consider three bids for the city's pilot program to repair sections of brick streets in four areas during its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

According to a memorandum to Mayor Rich Hansen and city council members, the city received three bids ranging in price from $58,699 to $111,346.

“A little concerned about the range of bids, but because this is a pilot project for us for work never done before, the contractors are going to charge accordingly,” Public Works Director Al Schoemaker said in the memorandum.

Schoemaker estimated $80,000 for the project and is seeking to use the whole budget to possibly include additional areas to the project.

Streets expected to be repaired include:

• South Street between 17th and 18th streets

• 15th Street from Washington to Lincoln streets

• 17th Street from Washington to Lincoln streets

• Lincoln Street at the 17th Street intersection

Earlier this year, the section of South Street was slated to lose its brick surface in favor of asphalt until a last minute request to hold off on the project was granted.

Following that decision, the mayor appointed a brick streets committee that included residence, council members Frank Wolff and Mindy Rump and city staff to come up with a plan moving forward.

Schoemaker presented a plan for pilot program to repair the brick streets at the council's Sept. 10 meeting.

In researching how other cities across the state have handled or plan to handle brick street repairs as they arise, Schoemaker said City Administrator Rod Storm learned not many have plans in place.

However, the City of Omaha has had a program in place for about five years. Much of what Schoemaker presented to the council for Blair's repairs was modeled after Omaha's program.

Schoemaker said areas in need of repair would be marked and the contractor would come in, remove the bricks, treat the subgrade, fill the hole back up and replace the bricks. Once the bricks are in place, a polymeric sand would be poured on top of them. Over time, the sand works it way in between the bricks to help seal them.

In the areas where repairs meet up with a paved surface, Schoemaker said a minimum one-foot band of concrete will be placed to allow the brick a little bit of freedom to move without it being up against an existing street.

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