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City brick project begins Monday

By Bridget Simpson
On March 4, 2013

If your daily path takes you down College Avenue, you may want to start looking for a new route.

Beginning March 11, College Avenue will be closed from Spring Street to High Street for construction. The brick road will be reconstructed and flattened. The bricks have shifted throughout the years, making the road high in the middle and low on either side.

Reconstruction of College Avenue will consist of the removal and reinstallation of the current brick, removal of hazardous trees, replacement of the curbs, gutters and sidewalks and the addition of handicap ramps.

College Avenue will be open again by the start of the fall semester, with construction scheduled end July 15.

According to Mike Dreisbach, service director of the Brick Rehabilitation Project, the estimated cost of the project is $500,000. The Ohio Public Works commission will front $400,000 in aid.

While brick roads are more expensive to construct than asphalt roads, once they are in place, they require less maintenance, according to Alan Kyger, Oxford economic development director.

According to Douglas Elliott, city manager, an asphalt street needs to be resurfaced about every ten years, but College Avenue has not been worked on since its original construction, nearly 100 years ago.

Brick streets require less maintenance and the original bricks of College Avenue are still in great shape, according to Elliott. Elliott said they are in such good condition that, while a few cracked or chipped bricks will be replaced, for the most part original bricks will be used in the rehabilitation of College Avenue. The bricks just need to be repositioned.

Although the project will be efficient in the long term, in the meantime, the construction will cause some difficulties.

"From time to time, you do have to maintain the roads, and it does cause some inconvenience," Elliott said.

The Oxford Community Arts Center (OCAC), located on College Avenue, will be affected by this project.

According to Caroline Croswell, executive director of OCAC, May and June are particularly important months for the center, and the construction will cause parking difficulties.

However, according to Croswell, the city has worked hard to ensure everything will function as smoothly as possible during the project.

Croswell said that Oxford is helping figure out parking options for the center during its busiest months. In return, the center is supportive of the city's efforts to keep the road safe and presentable.

"The end result is going to be so wonderful that it's going to be worth it," Croswell said.

Local businesses aren't all that will be affected by the construction. The construction will also affect residents of College Avenue.

According to junior Jessica Saponaro, who lives on College Avenue, signs posted on the road notifying passersby of the upcoming construction were her only notice about the project.

"If they're going to do something this big, they should notify the residents," Saponaro said. Saponaro said it will be difficult to find a place to park and to map out a new route to go to class.

Dreisbach recognizes the inconveniences the construction will cause residents, but said it needs to be done in order to keep travel safe for drivers and bicyclists.

In the meantime, a detour route will be posted to assist travelers in finding alternate ways of reaching their destinations.

"The red bricks are an important feature of Oxford, they are a part of Oxford's history, so it's important to keep them in good shape," Kyger said.

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