The City lays new sidewalks during road reconstructions. They are supposed to last many decades. I notice they do not.
Every pedestrian walking the City knows that many sidewalk squares get cracked, heaved, or otherwise broken. Sometimes the squares are too big: when the portion of Somerset between Lyon and Percy was done years ago, the sidewalk squares were huge, and by the first spring half of them had cracked. They were replaced by the contractor, but don’t think that cost wasn’t borne by the taxpayer somewhere, somehow.
The City avoids putting rebars or reinforcing wire mesh into the sidewalks to save on cost. I am not aware that they use thin asphalt on streets to save on cost… in fact, streets themselves seem pretty damn sturdy. I expect engineers figure the carrying load on the sidewalk as being people, with the occasional service truck or snowplow.
But increasingly, I see Hydro Ottawa person-lift trucks (“cherry pickers”) parked on sidewalks, fire engines, and delivery trucks, often really big ones. And during snow clearing, the City feels free to run graders, front end loaders, dump trucks and other heavy equipment on the sidewalks.
The pic is of the two year old sidewalk on Preston right after snow removal. Is it a coincidence that a row of dump trucks parked on the sidewalk? The cracks are brand new, fresh and sharp, not yet filled with sand or salt. The sidewalk was new too, but now it looks much less so. Thus starts the cycle of water penetration, freeze-thaw lifting, deterioration, and crumbling infrastructure. There were two cracks like the one shown, one in each block.