Concrete questions - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Concrete questions

Midtown sidewalks still plagued by fading colors

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Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Still stuck on a problem.

The city of Coeur d'Alene hasn't quite solved the maintenance quagmire that popped up after the midtown reconstruction project was completed three years ago - more specifically how to keep the colored concrete just that, colored.

Parts of the maroon-painted slabs of sidewalk need a touch up, as they have every year since the roughly $3 million project was finished.

"At some point, it'll need to be spruced up," said Jon Ingalls, deputy city administrator.

When, exactly, hasn't been determined. A touch-up project is not in the 2013 proposed budget, either. And because streets and sidewalks across town are always in need of maintenance, repairing jobs are done on a cyclically-based wear and age schedule. Despite midtown's relative newness, it will have to wait in line like everyone else.

What exactly will be done to get the color in the concrete to stick?

That's still being kicked around, too.

"The doors are open for options," Ingalls said. "We haven't budgeted the funds to do something, but we could."

Sandblasting the color away as not to deal with the peeling problem is one possibility the city has kicked around. So it just painting it again every so often. Talk of forming a Business Improvement District to help pay for upkeep has been discussed, though it's yet to get far.

"I notice it, customers, especially my political customers, notice it," said Tracie Olin, manager of the Women's Center Thrift Store on the peeling colored paint in front of the Fourth Street store. "We like the front of our store as nice as possible. We work hard to keep it neat."

Olin was one of several midtown stakeholders who likes the improvements overall.

The colored concrete was one of the aesthetic perks of the project geared at making the center section of town more pedestrian friendly. But Olin's political reference stems from who funded the project - the city and Lake City Development Corp., the city's urban renewal agency, which is to say taxpayer money.

And the color has been one of the few things on the project that hasn't worked out 100 percent, some businesses and stakeholders said.

The paint was re-done a year after the project was completed by the sub-contractor under warranty. A year after that, it peeled again, but hasn't been touched-up since. One-year warranties are typical of street projects, the city said.

"It's just color, it's not like the sidewalks are buckling," said JeffreyGagnon, of Paris & Co., on Fourth Street, who likes several parts of the reconstruction project, and isn't all that bothered by fading color. "As long as they're not a public hazard, I don't think they should worry about it."

What wouldn't work is a BID, he said, especially since some affected stakeholders paid into Land Improvement District as part of the project. Adding extra costs for businesses otherwise making ends meet might drive them out of the area. Besides, he said, BIDs don't guarantee that all the sidewalks will be pristine all the time.

The sub-contractor that performed the concrete coloring was C 4 Concrete, and the product used for the coloring was H & C Concrete Sealer.

A representative from the company, who did not want his name printed, told The Press in an article about the peeling paint last August, said the product was applied as directed.

The company had never used the product on such a large-scale project, the representative said.

C 4 did not return messages from The Press this week.

Another technique to color concrete is to mix the coloring into the pour instead of painting it. Ingalls said he wasn't sure why the company chose painting, but chalked the peeling color up to normal wear and tear, especially from harsh winters and de-icing that some businesses may use.

"Basically, a coating of sorts requires maintenance," he said. "It'd be nice to coat it and walk away for 10 years."

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  • my own opinion posted at 9:16 am on Sun, Sep 9, 2012.

    my own opinion Posts: 397

    Idaho is so cheep! Seems everything they do in all areas including companies who pay cheep and buy cheep goods and how they run has to be done on the cheep and they scratch their heads and wonder oh it did not work! well dough spend money the right way not half a22 and you won't have to spend over and over. People are going where they can work and make money they deserve and take the talent with them what is left here is a bunch of uneducated penny pinchers (and ugly work downtown) who do not know how to do anything right. Same dummies same poor outcomes.

  • Cdajon posted at 10:04 pm on Wed, Sep 5, 2012.

    Cdajon Posts: 447

    Mid town isn't looking good. Thrift stores...tat shops and bars. Soon low income or should we say state aid housing is coming in. The speed bumps are rough and noisy. Going from asphalt to concrete is a mess. Gordon doblermeister the city engineer should know all this. He gets paid more than he's worth. As for the color..any jackass could tell you it wouldn't work. Mix it into the mud and then pour. We have clowns running and working in engineering.g..hire some monkeys next time.cheaper and better. Mid town is a joke.

  • cdalocal posted at 11:17 am on Sun, Sep 2, 2012.

    cdalocal Posts: 122

    This one falls on the City Engineering Department, not the Council. They allowed the plans and specifications to go out to bid like this. You don't have to be an engineer to realize
    painted concrete in a high traffic area is going to peel and fade. They should have used a color additive in the concrete instead of painting the surface.

  • averagelocal posted at 6:45 pm on Sat, Sep 1, 2012.

    averagelocal Posts: 73

    I propose the Council members paint it every Spring, and pay for it out of their own pockets. We never got to vote on it, it's a terrible BUMPY mess, and now it's making the businesses look even more run down than they did before. I never saw one Idaho plate on ANY of the workers trucks, a few weeks after the work was done, they had to back and replace some pavers. What a MESS!!! We REALLY need to step up our votes this year and get rid of the out of hand Council spenders!

  • SamuelStanding posted at 2:07 pm on Fri, Aug 31, 2012.

    SamuelStanding Posts: 579

    That's ok! Madam Mayor and the three monkeys (hear no, see no, speak no) will just appropriate more tax payer dollars for golden bricks to replace the poorly thought out, executed concrete.
    Added the dollars to the "FIRST PHASE $14.1 MILLION"

  • NIresident posted at 8:11 am on Fri, Aug 31, 2012.

    NIresident Posts: 4

    as someone that has worked in concrete design for the last decade plus...I agree with "meidaho"...If you want the problem to go away, Hydro-mill the top 1 1/2" to 2" and replace it with concrete that is fully colored in the mixer drum. Problem solved and no pealing! City knew full well what would happen to the paint after it had some wear and tear!

  • cd1013 posted at 8:05 am on Fri, Aug 31, 2012.

    cd1013 Posts: 190

    Thanks LCDC and City of Cd'A for such an "improvement". What a joke! meidaho is correct, the only way colored concrete retains it's color is to mix it in before the pour. You would think someone at city hall would know.

  • LTRLTR posted at 7:53 am on Fri, Aug 31, 2012.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    I am not impressed with the taxpayer funded Midtown upgrades. Broken curbing, peeling paint, and a block of thrift stores.

  • meidaho posted at 5:41 am on Fri, Aug 31, 2012.

    meidaho Posts: 237

    Here we go again... Take it from me - a somebody who has worked with lots and lots of concrete a few decades ago.

    The problem with the color is that the concrete only has a thin surface color. As the surface wears out and breaks down due to traffic and weather, the color is lost and the true color of the concrete starts to show again.

    A surface color or re-painting will never last.

    The only way to fix the problem is to remove all of the color concrete and the pour new concrete that is mixed with color back onto the street and sidewalk.

    -- when the original concrete was put down, it should of been mixed in the mixer with the red color so that all of the concrete is red.

    -- what you got instead is a poor job where somebody put a super thin layer of color on the top surface of the concrete after the concrete was in place. You might as well put red paper on top of the concrete because no thin surface color is goinng to last in a high traffic area.

    At this point, it might be better to just wash and blast away the color. Then consider cutting some patterns in the contrete where red brick could be placed again.

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