Orlando residents push for brick road instead of asphalt where water main broke

Summerlin Avenue expected to reopen sometime next week

ORLANDO, Fla. – Work was still underway Thursday in the Lake Eola Heights Historic Neighborhood after a water main break Monday lefts parts of Summerlin Avenue underwater.

The water main has been fixed and the boil water advisory for residents in the area was lifted Thursday morning. But the work isn't over.

"What's going on now is a process known as dewatering," said Tim Trudell, a spokesman for the Orlando Utilities Commission. "Crews are basically siphoning the moisture out of the soil which will allow the road and soil to be compacted better." 

[PREVIOUS: Water main break marks second on same road in two monthsWater main break floods Orlando streets, submerges vehicles]

A few blocks from where it happened, David Martin said he sees some good that could come from the issue. 

"We would like them not to put the asphalt back, but to replace the bricks," Martin, the president of the Lake Eola Heights Historic Neighborhood Association, said. 

Martin has watched over the years as other streets like his had the asphalt ripped up to bring back the brick roads that were buried underneath. He said he liked the way the brick looked.

"That adds the charm the same way the historic homes add the charm," he said. "We've had some restoration already, but we'd like to see it continue." 

Some of the bricks where the water main break happened are long gone, but crews are working to salvage as many as they can. 

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"Residents are concerned if we lose this section of brick, we might never be able to brick all of Summerlin Avenue," Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan said.  

Sheehan has pushed for the road to return to brick, as in the past, and hopes this latest issue can finally make the road return to what it once was. 

"People love and hate brick," she explained. "The people who like to speed hate brick. The people who live in the neighborhood love brick because it's charming and is (naturally) traffic calming. I tell people, 'If you're not speeding through the neighborhood, you shouldn't be offended by brick streets.'" 

Officials said they hope to see the stretch of Summerlin Avenue reopen to drivers sometime next week.

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