Monday, September 28, 2009
Despite my besmirching of their reputation on this public internet forum, the workers got down to business nice and early today and the scheduled first day of work on the replacement aqueduct and sewage system.
I've made a little map of our street, indicating where each of the pictures was taken, so you can get an overall sense of the work being done. The blue line shows the beginning of the temporary water supply, which is connected to the fire hydrant on the other side of Villeneuve.
Today's work appears to be on cutting the sidewalk and getting a temporary water source hooked up. You can see in the pictures below (2 and 3 on the map) where they have attached a pipe to a fire hydrant which is on the opposite side of Villeneuve. This temporary pipe then goes into a ditch they are still digging which will run alongside the gutter and, I believe, hook into all the houses to provide them water.
So far, cars are still allowed to park along the western side of the street, which suggests to me that they are going to start only doing one side at a time. But that could be simply for the placement of the temporary water pipe. The big pipes are right in the middle of the street, so they are going to have to tear the whole thing up anyways.
You can see below (picture 4) how they open up the street so they can put down the temporary pipe. The cutter goes up about two feet from the gutter, cutting a narrow line deep into the road surface. Then the machine comes by (big bulldozer thing) with the penetrating, hammering attachment poking holes inside the line. Then they put on the scoop shovel (a relatively narrow one) and pull the surface off, dump it into the dump truck and then the rest of the dirt underneath.
Here's the dude on the big concrete cutter (picture 5). He went the entire length of the block along the eastern side, making little right angle detours onto the sidewalk (as he is doing here) to get access to the pipes leading into the residences.
Sometimes, they leave the machine running, with it tilted back so the blade isn't making any contact. But it's still spinning. Makes me think of all the metal things I couldn't cut in the past that I would love to run over there and chop up. Don't really have anything pressing to cut right now, though it would also make a great action movie fight scene hazard. Has anybody ever been forced under one of those sidewalk cutters in a movie?
So so far, so good. The workers are clearly quite used to people showing interest as there was an older gentleman hanging out and just watching them work. He seemed to be quite well informed, telling me they are going to go as deep as 8 metres. They also didn't seem surprised or weirded out seeing me hanging around taking pictures. One guy made a joke about the paparazzi. Personally, I'm quite looking forward to the whole process!