Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, August 12, 2012, pg. 9
It has been interesting indeed to observe the work crew trying to replace sections of the 1940-laid concrete base under the 1993-laid brick street downtown the past few weeks. Our mild winter last year statewide meant that MDOT had some unspent funds in their kitty, which they decided to spend here in Albion of all places. Thank you to all our citizens who "reminded" state officials about our town located along the state highway M-99 and our needs here. Especially intriguing was the condition at the Cass and Superior Sts. intersection. That location seems to have been "depressed" first before the other portions.
The current replacement of the bad base here was not the first time the 1940-laid concrete base has been disturbed. It was in the summer of 1954 that a massive sewer interceptor line was laid across town, following the abandoned mill raceway which once produced electricity at the Consumers Power Company powerhouse until the late 1940s. A sewer line was laid along the route, (basically Rieger Park and the Market Place areas) and then continued along W. Cass St. The 1940-laid brick pavement at the Cass-Superior St. intersection had to be temporarily removed, and the 1940-laid concrete base had to be cut in order to dig and install the new sewer line. It was then replaced and then the bricks were put back. So some of the repairs being done at this intersection involved a 1954-laid concrete base, which as we all know didn't last either.
It makes one think twice about the versatility of a brick-on-concrete roadway here in the 21st century after having experienced the "down" side of such a road. Neighboring towns such as Springport and Eaton Rapids have had concrete roads laid in recent years. Eaton Rapids has used bricks for accenting such as at crosswalks or sidewalk borders, but not for the main road.
It was interesting to learn that the pattern of depressions before the railroad tracks and auxiliary stoplight strangely matched the wheel distance pattern of an 18-wheel semi-truck. Hmmm. When the road was laid in 1993, the railroad tracks had been mistakenly raised several inches, thus creating a hill that hadn't been there before. With the addition of the stoplight before the tracks, pressure is exerted on the bricks and base every time vehicles start up when the light turns green. That issue will have to be addressed when planning for a new road in the future.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a June, 1954 photograph of the Cass-Superior St. intersection, looking south. It shows a construction crew filling in the hole after the sewer line had been laid. City officials are standing nearby. You may notice a few railroad ties lying in the debris. These were actually remains of wooden conduit for telephone lines, some of which still remain embedded under Superior St. today. A hole was drilled in the center the long way, where the wires were placed. I took photographs of a couple of them in 1993 when the nearby bridge over the River was removed and replaced. How many of our readers remember this sewer construction project?
June, 1954 photograph of the Cass-Superior St. intersection
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic