Concrete pads smooth bus stops (San Antonio, Texas) At first blush it doesn’t seem to make much sense: Work crews spread a fresh layer of asphalt on the street, then come back later and dig huge holes in it. But there is a method behind the madness, said City Engineer Doug Yerkes. “It seems to be working out pretty good,” he said. Workers across the city are excavating recently resurfaced streets so they can build concrete pads in front of bus stops. The pads will prevent the squishing, buckling and rolling of asphalt common on busy transit routes. But some residents are asking why just-laid blacktop should be ripped up. If other construction is needed, then do that first, they suggest. “Doesn’t anyone in this town actually plan anything?” Paul Gassler asked in a letter to the San Antonio Express-News. Another letter writer asked the newspaper to investigate. But it’s not a case of bad planning, Yerkes insisted. “Actually, it’s the opposite. It’s good planning and it’s good engineering,” he said. The issue has to do with making sure the concrete pads are at the same level as the asphalt, Yerkes explained. The easiest and cheapest way to do that is to build the pads to match the height of newly paved streets rather than lay asphalt at a certain thickness. The idea came from the company Clark Construction of Texas, which is doing the work for the city. The asphalt that’s removed for the pads isn’t charged to the city. “That’s something the contractor elected to do,” Yerkes said. Each pad is 70 feet long, 11 feet wide, about 10 inches deep and costs $9,000. The concrete pads should last about 20 years – 10 times longer than asphalt at a busy bus stop, Yerkes said. The program started this year, with 65 pads to be installed by Sept. 30. They’ve been placed on Southcross Boulevard, Commercial Avenue and Wilson Street, and work is under way on Nacogdoches Road, Lockhill Selma and Harry Wurzbach roads, St. Mary’s Street, San Saba and Jones Maltsberger Road. Patrick DriscollSan Antonio Express-News
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