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Cut In The Road Reveals Brick Pavement Layer, Indianapolis


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#1 mobilene

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 08:34 PM

I was driving along Washington St. (NR, US 40) in Indianapolis recently and came upon some road construction downtown. Some of the road had been cut out in the middle, and it revealed several layers of pavement. One of them was brick, which isn't terribly surprising as newer surfaces are commonly laid down directly over old. But it was nice to see it. I can't entirely tell what layers lurk below, but I do see splintered wood.

 

Weather and schedule have prevented me from getting onto the road this season, but I want to drive the Michigan Road in Shelby and Marion Counties to make sure the Historic Michigan Road signs are properly placed, and I want to drive the Lafayette Road, an 1830s road connecting Indianapolis and Lafayette. It was four laned in the early 1930s but a couple two-lane concrete bits remain.

 

-Jim

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#2 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 09:51 PM

Jim,

 

Great to see you post! And I always love a good road “mystery.”

 

I need more photos! I can't tell if I am looking at a 3 inch deep or 3 feet deep section. Is the sequence from top to bottom concrete, brick, gunk, and wood? If so, why is the concrete grooved at what seems a few inches apart? (More photos!). Is the brick as thin as it looks. What is the “gunk” layer, the base for the brick (why not sand or concrete, or?) or another road bed? The wood looks evenly spaced, like ties. (But again, hard to get scale).

 

In any event, a fascinating photo that probably tells an interesting historical tale! And great that you are keeping busy on the Michigan Road. That was (and is) quite an accomplishment! I have been operating the Yellowstone Trail Forum for some time now, and have made a few “discoveries,” and fine friends, but I sure haven't gotten any road recognized as you have!!

 

Again, good to see your post.

 

Dave

 

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#3 knightfan26917

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 02:40 AM

I agree with Dave, Jim ... great to see you post ... & I LOVE that photo you took showing the different layers of roadway.  I found myself wondering some of the very same questions Dave posed.  Would love to see more pics of this cross section.

 

 

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#4 mobilene

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 06:36 AM

Unfortunately, this is the only photo I got. I was stopped at a light and snapped a quick one with my phone. I was on my way to a job interview -- I lost my job in June and spent most of this summer looking. I start a new job on Monday. But all the networking and interviewing left me little time to hit the road, or to return to this construction site to look more!

 

I think the grooving in the concrete is related to the construction, and was not a normal feature of the road. 

 

I wish I had access to info about this road's pavement history. I wonder the same: what the heck IS that beneath the bricks? I know that in some places bricks were laid on a concrete pad, and in others they were laid in sand. That stuff looks like neither. It makes me wonder if it's an older form of pavement that predated the bricks.

 

I've decided tomorrow is the day to survey the Michigan Road signs in Shelby and Marion Counties. There was an old stone bridge on an 1-lane alignment of the MR in Shelby County that collapsed and has been removed, so I want to see the hole where it was. And I'm interested to see what's changed on that section of the road, as I haven't driven it in a while.



#5 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 09:34 AM

Jim,

 

 I didn't know you were enjoying a brief unpaid vacation! But good, I suppose, to be back in the harness!

 

I guess I am obsessing on the road cut, but understanding road construction methods is often useful in dating an old road.....as you well know. The bricks look like they might be interlocking, and are apparently thin, and as you note not on sand or concrete. It suggests a proprietary paving product.

 

But the “gunk” beneath the brick, and the even spacing of the wooden members is puzzling. A streetcar or rail line might produce that wooden (ties?) pattern, and I might speculate that light rails, as might be used for horse drawn trams, might use small closely spaced ties.

 

I suppose clay impregnated with stone might make a suitable base for brick, at least it might be tried. If I get the energy to get out of my easy chair, I'll look at some Good Roads Annuals to see if any such paving method is described.

 

Good luck on the new job!

 

Dave

 

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#6 knightfan26917

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 03:08 AM

Hey Jim,

 

Sorry you were out of work, too, but glad you found a job so quickly!  Me, I've been out of work since February 2012.  Have had NUMEROUS "almost new jobs", but nothing has stuck ... yet.

 

So, how was surveying the Michigan Road signs today? ;)

 

 

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#7 mobilene

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 03:47 PM

I drove back out to that spot and found the cut filled with concrete, so no more exploration is possible. :-(

 

However, I did enjoy my trip along the Michigan Road in Marion (Indianapolis) and Shelby Counties to review sign placement. Indianapolis Dept. of Public Works and INDOT did great jobs placing the signs. Shelby County screwed it up pretty bad, placing only two of the four signs we asked for, and then in entirely the wrong places. Soooooo I'm trying to get in touch with someone in Shelby County to get it fixed.



#8 knightfan26917

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 11:26 AM

Well, shucks ... I was hoping you'd be able to explore that more!

 

As for the sign placement trip, glad you enjoyed it, even though Shelby County messed up.  Hopefully the errors get corrected soon!

 

 

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#9 Mike Ballard

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 06:12 PM

The wood below those bricks looks to be railroad ties, for some rail line that had a section of street running. An old USGS map may have that info, all of which are now on their website for viewing and downloading.






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