A Little More Future in the Pipes

The big tractors are getting closer. Our portion of the street is about to be ripped up, as has already occurred further down the way. We learned of this necessary exercise last year, and have been dreading it ever since. As crews rip out old water and sewer pipes and replace them, mud supplants roads and water lines are displaced by temporary fittings into exterior water hose receptacles. There are new things to trip over on our street!

My father-in-law was chatting with one of the workers the other day, who informed him that the sewer pipes being removed are made from asbestos. I was somewhat taken aback, knowing that asbestos calls for hazmat suits: the school where I work is undergoing renovation these days and working through some asbestos abatement. Asbestos, it seems, is something of a sleeping dragon; once disturbed great problems follow and so this removal of asbestos and replacement of pipes is a good thing, an exceedingly good thing, in fact! So, despite the street getting ripped apart like a piece of cloth being shredded, in due course the street will again be whole with new “veins” worming their way below the skins of asphalt.

In the midst of all of this, another bit of good news is that the uproar has neighbour talking with neighbour. My wife has often lamented the manner in which winter sometimes locks people in their homes. With spring people begin to enjoy one another’s company, and with the activity on the street we now have opportunity to query what the city or the construction firm has been up to. Not only is the street being remade, but so is the shape of the community.

These days, as I wander around the civic mess of my street, the constant noise of equipment is a reminder that things are changing, as they should. Work is advancing, and just today a husky man with a thick Scottish brogue stopped by to give us parking passes that will allow us overnight parking on a handful of streets near us, which we will need when the tractors are at the end of our lane.

We look forward to a new street, and the realization that our asbestos days are receding. In the meantime, we will drive carefully, chew the fat with our neighbours and try to enjoy the knowledge that there is a little less asbestos in the ground and a little more future in the pipes.

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4 thoughts on “A Little More Future in the Pipes

  1. shoreacres says:

    We’re embarking on new construction here, too. There’s an abysmal intersection nearby where five two-or-four-lane roads come together in a star-shaped pattern. Apart from midnight or the occasional Tuesday morning, it can take forever to get through the intersection — as much as ten minutes or more. It doesn’t help that one of the largest intermediate schools in the area sits on one corner.

    It’s going to be an awful pain for 4-6 months, because one of the roads that meets there is one of only two ways between the north and south sides of the lake. A lot of patience is going to be required. Still, people already are commiserating. As you say, a trauma can help to bind a community — even if it’s just construction trauma.

    • agjorgenson says:

      Best wishes! I have heard we will be in disarray until October, but we will survive. The good news is we will get new sidewalks, and there will be very few trees lost. When they have done this on some streets, 50 year old trees have had to go and are replaced by 5 year trees. That gives the street a stark look.

  2. diannegray says:

    Asbestos is very nasty, Allen. The house I grew up in was recently demolished (with all the other houses in the street) because of asbestos – I was sad to see it go. I’m glad they’re cleaning up your street and the added bonus is getting to chew the fat with the neighbors! 😉

    • agjorgenson says:

      We lived with quite a bit of asbestos around here, and many older homes will have bits and pieces here and there. I understand it is the dust that is dangerous.

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