WILMINGTON — There is a lot of history in Wilmington, historic homes and buildings, to the very streets cars drive down. Last year, City Council adopted a new Brick Street Policy to help preserve some of that history, and restore Wilmington’s streets to reflect their past heritage.
While brick streets can offer a more historic aesthetic to the city, brick paved streets are significantly more difficult to maintain than asphalt streets. Several of the historic brick streets in Wilmington have been paved over with asphalt starting as far back as the 1980s, but now they are making a comeback.
Starting next week crews are scheduled to begin work on a portion of 4th Street. They will begin by removing asphalt that has been poured over original brick streets. The portion of 4th Street between Market Street and Dock Street will be closed until Thursday.
“These repairs are part of the city’s ongoing efforts to maintain brick streets in the downtown area that began with the adoption of a new policy last year outlining how to prioritize the city’s repairs and preservation efforts. The city has approximately four miles of brick streets, some of which have been covered over with asphalt as utility and other repairs have occurred time,” Wilmington Spokeswoman Malissa Talbert said.
There are more streets that are scheduled for this spring, including parts of Queen Street and 7th Street.
Removing the asphalt from existing brick streets is one of the top priorities in the city’s preservation efforts. Similar work on other brick streets will take place this spring. Although historic and visually appealing to some, brick streets do come with more problems than asphalt streets.
“It is very important that we preserve our brick streets that are such a meaningful symbol of our city’s rich history. The repairs we will be making this spring is another step toward doing that,” Talbert said.
In order to determine which roads can be maintained as a brick paved road, three criteria had to be met including, speed limit, traffic volume, and functional classification.
According to the city’s Brick Street Policy, “The traffic volume threshold has been established at 4,000 vehicles per day; beyond this threshold, the level of traffic, particularly truck traffic, is too great to maintain a sound brick-paved street.”
The work on 4th Street will take place from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. and will be closed to traffic.
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