Snapshots from Gulfport’s Shore Boulevard Trail Project, which is on track
to be completed by the end of September.
Right tools for the job – Emilio Sebastian of Artisitc Pavers of Clearwater does the final preparation of diamond sand before co-workers lay bricks. He and two other men are working for a subcontractor that is in charge of creating the main parking lot for the Shore Boulevard Trail beautification project. While listening to local radio station 1420, he nuances the sand by hand by filling in areas as needed, then he creates a smooth finish on the top with the flat side of a 10-foot aluminum pole. “It’s like the aluminum used for the screened cages of pools,” said Neilson Goncelves, head installer and supervisor. “A piece of wood would bend” and other metals would be too hot to the touch, he explained. A wide, flat-bladed rake is used to distribute the sand over broad areas before final finishing.
Cool idea – Installing concrete bricks can be hard on the hands unless you’re wearing protective gear like sports tape, said Neilson Goncelves, head installer and supervisor for Artistic Pavers of Clearwater. They’re one of the subcontractors working on the Shore Boulevard Trail beautification project. “Duct tape is too slippery and gloves are too hot,” he said. In 100-degree heat along the beachfront in Gulfport, Concelves and two other men started laying what will total about 162,000 tri-color pavers measuring 4 inches by 8 inches each to create the main parking area on Thursday, August 18. It will take them about two weeks to complete their part of the project.
Recycling old into new – A bend of 90 individual bricks is delivered to the edge of the laying area by Isiah Gonzeles of Artisic Pavers of Clearwater, a subcontractor for the Shore Boulevard Trail beautification project. Six bends make a pallet and about 300 pallets are needed to pave the main parking lot. It will take three men to do the work in about two weeks. “No machine in the world can lay bricks like this,” said Neilson Goncelves, head installer and supervisor. The bottom of the parking lot has been covered with from one to two inches of thick “road base” grade fill that is meant for commercial use, he said. It’s made of recycled residential concrete and road asphalt. “Somebody’s house” or the road in front of it is out there, Goncelves said waving across the job site. “There’s a lot of history here.”
Tons of work – About 22 tons of diamond sand is delivered to the job site and will be distributed, then partially leveled out by a compact Bobcat tractor. Final leveling to a thickness of about ½-inch is done by hand using a 10-foot long, square shaped aluminum bar. The main parking lot of the Shore Boulevard Trail beautification project will measure about 36,000 square feet and will consist of small bricks laid by hand in a 45-degree angle herringbone pattern that will have a straight soldier border course. Handicap parking spaces will be newly poured concrete slabs. The entire parking lot area will drain rainwater toward the beach and absorb it back into the soil through the bricks. “A parking lot made of brick pavers will never crack,” said Neilson Goncelves, head installer and supervisor for Artistic Pavers of Clearwater, a project subcontractor. Bricks move along as the ground moves, especially in soft-soil areas located near water. If a cable needs to be laid through the parking lot in the future, just pick up the bricks and put them back, he said. “It will look like it never happened. You can’t do that with concrete as a patch never matches.”