Columbia City Council agrees to fix brick roads, add more

Monday, March 17, 2014 | 10:20 p.m. CDT; updated 10:53 p.m. CDT, Monday, March 17, 2014

COLUMBIA — The Columbia City Council has paved the way for restoring brick roads around town during the next 20 years.

The council voted unanimously Monday to restore the city's already-exposed brick streets and uncover even more.


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The council also amended the ordinance to reflect concerns from members of the Columbia Disabilities Commission, who had raised concerns that brick streets are difficult for some people to traverse.

During the next 20 years, the city will replace the unsteady sand and gravel base under Columbia's already-exposed brick streets with a more secure concrete base. After that work is completed, the city will develop a list of asphalt-covered brick streets to uncover.

One of the amendments passed Monday will include the Disabilities Commission in formulating that list.

Disabilities Commissioner Cheryl Price thanked the Historic Preservation Commission, which proposed the ordinance, and council members for working out "a very good compromise."

Another amendment gives the city more flexibility in how much money to spend on restoring the brick roads.

In a September 2010 Missourian article, Historic Preservation Committee member Brent Gardner estimates the cost of uncovering brick roads to be about $100,000 per city block.

The Historic Preservation Commission said almost all of Columbia's brick roads are in good condition.

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Ellis Smith March 18, 2014 | 6:19 a.m.

Maintaining existing brick streets (that is, streets now having entirely EXPOSED brick surfaces) is reasonable.

Building new brick streets or removing the asphalt cover now over old ones will become an unnecessary public expense.

Do I have something against use of paving bricks? Hell no! I'm a registered professional Ceramic Engineer, and I promote production and use of paving bricks (they're ceramics), but for ornamental sidewalks, private driveways, garden paths, patios, etc. Laying and maintaining brick streets is labor intensive. The existing ones were put down at a time when workers made less than $5 a DAY!

On the other hand, since I no longer reside in Columbia I don't have to pay for this.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 18, 2014 | 10:55 a.m.

Nope, no money for electrical or sewer upgrades downtown, but we'll make brick streets look pretty. Great decision.

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