FTLComm - Winnipeg - August 4, 2000

Many years ago Jim Henson created the wonderful world of Fragel Rock and in this underground domain there were these busy builders who worked and worked making things, digging, constructing and accomplishing all that was needed. They were the "DooZers."

When I walked up to this street scene this morning in Winnipeg on Waterloo street the old TV series and its busy little workmen came back to me as this whole street was alive with teams of hard hatted workers about their business of renewing a street.

Through time the accumulation of traffic, rain and winter after winter takes its toll on the road surface
and there is nothing to do but rebuild the street right from the bottom up.
In this case city engineers have gone over the street and identified the causes of the deterioration and those places that have dropped below serviceability

Area of sidewalk that are deemed to be about to become a problem are removed and new side walking is being laid. This is done with the curb as well. The venerable trees of this neighbourhood are protected during the construction process to prevent damage to one of the cities most valued assets.

The street itself is quite a different matter. The surface asphalt has been removed revealing the underlying reinforced concrete. Those areas were weakness has been detected are then removed to establish a stable base of the new road surface.

Winnipeg's soil is a mix of clays, river bed and loam, much of it soaks up water and with the pressure of traffic upon it the load bearing strength is reduced and a damaged surface occurs. In the work area below the concrete has been removed and an excavation is underway to place a barrier in place to stop the migration of clays upward. Then the workers will install weeping tile to drain seepage to a new manhole they are installing which will in turn conduct this ground water into the storm sewer system and reduce the build up of water under the concrete street.

These pictures show the excavation of a soft area and a jack hammer drilling holes into a concrete manhole to introduce the weeping tile into the system.

Though Winnipeg had more then its share of precipitation in June and early July the soil conditions in this site are remarkably dry as the dust from the digging rises into the morning air.

This location had been the site of some very unstable soil and the pavement, its underlying concrete, the curb and surrounding soil had all slumped from the build up of ground water and the
ensuing damage that resulted
from traffic on this softened area.

Two of these rubber tired diggers were in use on the site being more mobile and versatile then the crawler type machines I am more familiar with. This "Badger" was scooping out the clay from the excavation around the weakened area making a hole to install the fabric barrier and the weeping tile.

The Forman on the project explained to me that the city has been strapped for cash lately and has let some of these areas needed rebuilding go longer then should have been the case. Though it is good to get this work done had the project been undertaken earlier the costs of refurbishing and renewal would have been substantially less.

As he spoke to me about the project the rhythm of the work, the choreography of trucks, excavation equipment, workers and supervisors spun onward little by little renewing this street in one of the older parts of the city.