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Project 180: An OKC Makeover

By Monica Helms, consultant to Pavestone Company




These City Stone™ pavers along the curbing had to be cut from a 12-inch x 12-inch paver to fit the space instead of using a cut 6-inch x 12-inch paver that would have left a “sliver” which is defined as being paver material that is less than 1/3 of the original paver and not acceptable by industry practices.
Photos: Pavestone Company


 

It doesn’t get much trickier than downtown cityscape renovations. In what can best be described as growing pains, downtown Oklahoma City is undergoing a series of transformations to its downtown cityscape. Officially dubbed Project 180, this initiative is a $160 million redesign of downtown streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas meant to beautify the area and make it more pedestrian friendly. Construction began in 2010 and is slated for completion in 2014. “This project is really one-of-a-kind for Oklahoma City, as well as one of the largest that’s been done,” said Victor Mendez of Pavestone Company. “We used 432,000 square feet of City Stone™ paving stones with a specialty finish, from what’s called the Arctex™ Series.”

Roughly 75 percent of the pavers installed for Project 180 have this Arctex finish, while the remaining 25 percent have a standard finish. Compared to a standard finish, the Arctex finish goes through an extra process that exposes the raw material, giving it a historical textured surface.

The streetscape concept was designed by the Office of James Burnett. This project required careful planning and coordination between multiple landscape architects and engineers.

“Howard-Fairbairn Site Design was selected as the lead to produce the construction documents, with the support of three sub-landscape architectural firms,” said Scott Fairbairn of Howard-Fairbairn Site Design. “Each landscape architectural firm was responsible for a particular area. Between the firms, we coordinated the design and technical continuity between each bid package. We also worked with eight civil engineers who were responsible for the civil elements of the streetscape. The packages are in the final stages of design, under construction, or close to completion.”

 




The Project 180 initiative is a $160 million redesign of downtown streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas meant to beautify the area and make it more pedestrian friendly. The Jesus Wept Memorial (red hardscapes and columns) is existing and not a part of Project 180. The memorial honors the victims of the Murrah Building bombing. Approximately 432,00 square feet (roughly 75 percent) of the pavers installed for Project 180 have a skid resistant Arctex™ finish. The Arctex finish goes through an extra process that exposes the raw material, giving it a historical, textured surface.

 

Project Coming into View
Despite budget issues and construction complications, downtown Oklahoma City is starting to get a peek at what these City Stone pavers and other renovations are adding to the downtown scenery. The paver installation itself has been relatively smooth, with only minor modifications made in problem areas.

Different paver finishes have also been used to give the project more contrast and to keep the aesthetic interesting.

The special finish creates a beautiful and skid resistant surface, making it well-suited for walkways such as this. The technique used produces an even degree of texturing that is more uniform when compared to a tumbled product.
“Pavestone provided a square paver which was cut to eliminate the sliver pavers along the back of the curb,” Fairbairn said. “A sliver paver is considered a paver less than a half paver width. The cut square pavers replaced the typical rectangular and sliver pavers. This eliminated the maintenance and problems with a sliver paver and improved the visual appearance along the back of the curb.”

The pavers provide a significantly more pleasing view when compared to traditional concrete sidewalks alone, as well as a more durable surface on which to walk.

While big projects like this come with big hurdles, and with the goal for total completion of Project 180 set for 2014, it’s clear that there is still work to be done.

But for the benefit of effectively creating a beautiful, yet practical place for commerce to blossom – the short-term complications and other growing pains will be well worth the long-term reward for this growing city.

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December 9, 2019, 6:32 am PDT

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