Crosswalks crumbling

Less than two years in and barricades are up and repairs are already being made to the downtown streetscape.
Alex Doty
Nov 23, 2012


City public works crews recently spent time repairing faulty brick crosswalks on Harbor Drive and in the first block of Washington Avenue in downtown Grand Haven.

“There were divots within a few of the crosswalks,” Public Works Director Bill Hunter said.

City Manager Pat McGinnis noted that the problem with bumpy crosswalks in the first block of Washington Avenue isn’t new.

“That has been a problem since day one,” he said. “They failed shortly after the project was completed.”

Since that time, crews have had no luck in their attempts to resolve the issue.

“There has been a variety of corrections attempted, but none of them have worked,” McGinnis said.

To mend the problem, Hunter said his crews have removed the bricks and bedding sand below them, put new sand in and smoothed it out, and then replaced the bricks.

“Hopefully, that will resolve the situation that we’re experiencing,” he said.

Hunter said the work should be done before the end of the week so it doesn't impact downtown shoppers during the holiday season. There are several more crosswalks to repair.

“We’ll probably wait until the spring to do the rest,” Hunter said.

The cost of the fix is $3,000 per crosswalk.

Because the problems have been continuing for some time, McGinnis said city officials would see to it that the costs aren’t passed on to the taxpayers.

Still, it puzzles city officials why the bricks in the first block failed.

“We’re still trying to figure it out right now,” Hunter said. “We took some samples of the existing bedding and we’re waiting for the results to come back on that.”




" we're still trying to figure it out right now" Great idea city maybe you should think your downtown plans with a more long term approach. Thank you for the waste of tax payer money. Oh by the way how much is the snow melt fix going to cost us tax payers.


Was the bedding sand used approved in the construction specifications? What about compaction tests? I spent way too many years in construction to believe this articles content. The city should have had a compaction test once the first brick was pulled and also to see if the bedding sand met requirements of the plan. My opinion is the contractor should be called back in on this one, all the money spent for the downtown beatification project was simply for the tourists. I’ve seen so much corruption from the city first hand it’s not even funny. Yeah welcome to the City of Grand Haven, tourist town USA……lol! You the City ruined that with the building of Grand Landing….or should I say Grand Flop. And you can bet your bottom dollar US taxpayers aren’t going to pay for YOUR screw up. Gee I wonder if it isn’t the melt system leaking under the crosswalks? Time for some real answers here, all this money spent on an inferior constructed project that’s been tainted with issues since day one.


I agree, but the question is did the city present the contractor with a performance specification (we want it to meet these general requirements) or did they provide a design specification, with requirements for base material and depth, sand type and depth, compaction requirements, compaction test requirements, etc. If the former, and depending on the warranty required, the contractor should have corrected it a long time ago; if the latter, if the contractor met all the spec requirements, it's on the city unless the city hired a design firm to provide the specs. Either way, the city hasn't fully explained the problems.


This is the key without a doubt. It should not be costing the city anything if the contractor failed to provide an adequate installation. However, if the city laid out how it should be done and failed in the engineering design, it is going to be repaired by a very happy contractor making more bucks.

Perhaps a diligent contractor would have noticed design flaws?


". . . tainted with issues since day one." Mayor Roger Bergman was allowed to vote even though he owns 3 properties in the 3 blocks of downtown. Wasn't it City Attorney, Scott Smith, who stated according to the City Charter, Bergman had to cast his vote to break the tie - no conflict of interest there. Correct me if I'm wrong.


Why anyone would put sidewalk brick paver in for a crosswalk is beyond me. Water and sand freezes and expands and look what you have... Look how they fixed the same problem on Washington St. near the Bookman.. just removed the bricks and filled it in with asphalt... Looks real professional done...


It actually works great when done right (look at exchange and Jackson in SL; you can't even feel the crosswalks driving over them).

I am wondering why this would not be a warranty issue for the contractor. Why is it on the city's back?


Paving bricks did not work well when they first started paving streets with them in the 1800's. The maintenance cost was too high, so they went to asphalt or cement in the 1910's. That was when the loads were probably 1000 pounds or less. Today we have 3000 pound cars, we carry 3000 pound loads in our 2000 pound pickup trucks...go figure. Another reason is the different rates of expansion between the asphalt and the bricks. 1st year college stuff.


Way back when the crosswalk project was just a twinkle in Mayor Bergman's eye, I as well as a large number of my friends were totally against this particular project, with the general consensuses being, that this was the Mayor's Pet Project that he would make happen and that he wanted to be just like Holland where their restoration project brought in a lot of new customer's to the Businesses on that strip. The thing is, what worked well for Holland, doesn't mean that the same general plan will have the same affect in Grand Haven. It really makes me wonder if Bergman ever saw outside of his "Tunnel Vision"? Or, was he so fixated in believing that the streets would become "Paved in Gold" soon after the construction was completely finished. I wonder how long we'll have to wait for that to happen?


Grand Haven does not have the Prince family either to provide the money for those pet projects. If anyone would do their homework they find out that Holland City does nothing unless someone helps pay for those projects or grants. It take money to get those grants.


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