All cracked up over a sidewalk

Construction of pedestrian walks is ridiculously simple in Florida. Scrape away a bit of the sod or ground cover, lay the wooden side forms, and pour concrete. No digging required. No deep gravel foundations. No frost heave.

The result is smooth, long lasting walk surfaces. The main hazards to a walk’s existence are tree roots heaving the ground, or heavy vehicles cracking the concrete.

Nonetheless, municipal maintenance crews must keep busy. Shown below are some sidewalk squares being removed and replaced for what in Ottawa would pass as inconsequential cracks:

fla jan 2013 038 fla jan 2013 037


The walks above are in Orlando, Florida. The area beside the walk had been freshly dug up by a utility, which accounts for the surface abrasions on the concrete, and presumably the cracks too.

3 thoughts on “All cracked up over a sidewalk

  1. Sadly, we have to deal with snow, and all the plowing and freeze/thaw that entails….I do wonder how worth it all of our extra work is, considering how often the sidewalks break up anyways.

    1. Our current model is to fight, use force, against freeze and thaw, to resist it. But these are tempered with cheapness, so we dont put rebar or wire into the concrete to strengthen it. Experiments are going on for flexible sidewalks.

      1. Using pavers more widely is another solution. If they heave, plate compactors can be sent over them in the spring, particularly after the first few winters. If the conditions are sufficiently bad (especially localized settling), the pavers can be lifted, sand added to raise them, and then reinstalled.

        The Dutch have invented some ingenious paver-laying machines that could really speed up the process of laying pavers.

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