The plan to reuse concrete from the city of Madison's Williamson Street road reconstruction after it's crushed at nearby Union Corners is being touted as a green initiative. Neighbor Luther Gette thinks the city is a bit colorblind.
"Only if you went through the looking glass or down the rabbit hole could you call this project green," he says. "It looks pretty brown and dusty to me."
The project contractor has piled the concrete into a huge mound on the corner of Milwaukee Street and East Washington Avenue, to be crushed into small pieces to use as gravel base for the new road. The concrete for the first half of the project is being crushed this week; the second half will be done in midsummer.
"Seventy-five percent of the new base will be recycled," says Jim Wolfe, project engineer for the Willy Street reconstruction. This is the first time reuse of this material is being done "as a requirement" of a construction contract.
Wolfe says the city picked the Union Corners site to avoid hauling the concrete long distances. It considered other city sites, including the Garver Feed Mill, but the Madison Parks Division, which owns this building, objected.
Kevin Briski, the city's parks superintendent, says there was some concern that vibration from the crushing might damage the building's structure. But a "greater consideration was traffic to the area and on the property and the noise to the neighborhood and to Olbrich."
Gette, a retired hospital worker, says the project's noise, traffic, dust and disruption are no more welcome in his neighborhood. And he says it makes an eyesore out of Union Corners, which on June 3 will host entrants in a national competition to come up with ideas for the parcel.
Chides Gette, "Maybe we can put them on top of Mount Rubblemore!"