Sparkling, new pavement looks like broken glass, reader says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I have a question regarding most surface/pavement/asphalt on the streets of our city of Santa Cruz. As a bike commuter, I'm always scanning to make sure I won't ride into shattered glass, which happens a lot around here, yet most of the asphalt in town has some shiny little pieces that are part of it. It makes it sometimes very hard to distinguish if it's truly shattered glass or not. Is there anything in the works to stop using that type of surface? When I rode the freshly done asphalt on Miramar Drive today, it didn't look as shiny as some other streets. I'd love to know if we can try to stop using that shiny stuff. It's horrible yet I understand how costly it would be to repave. I'm very curious about this. Thank you! Sandrine Sandy Georges, Santa Cruz A: "Sand is one important component of asphalt used for paving streets," said Chris Schneiter, assistant director of the city's public works department. "Sand is also used for making glass. The sparkle factor of the streets probably depends on the amount of quartz silica that was in the sand used to make that batch of asphalt. It probably varies depending on the source." Schneiter, who admits to being "fooled a few times" while riding his own bike on a sparkly street, also said there is a wealth of knowledge about this topic online. Just use your favorite search engine. Westbound Laurel Street lane closures Oct. 27-29 Work on Laurel Street continues 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27 through Wednesday, Oct. 29 as crews work to pave the stretch from Mission Street to Front Street, extending 200 feet onto Laurel Street Bridge. Expect Laurel to be closed to westbound traffic between Mission and Chestnut streets Monday. Detours will take drivers, except buses and emergency vehicles, onto Walnut Street and Chestnut Street. Westbound Broadway users are urged to use Soquel Avenue and Water Street. Residents and businesses will have access to the area, which will reopen to two way traffic Tuesday. On street parking is prohibited in the project area and significant delays are expected and drivers are advised to avoid the area if they can. What's more, work may extend past 5 p.m. if bad weather or unforeseen circumstances occur. Other rehab-related Laurel Street work is expected to continue through early November. Sidewalk and ramp improvements, which began in September, are to continue through October with occasional sidewalk closures. Questions and comments about the project can be referred to Hoi Yu, assistant engineer, at 831-420-5179.
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