Friday, July 8, 2011

The concern whether dry stone walls will last.







There is an unreasonable, almost irrational aspect to people's expectations concerning the longevity and structural merits of dry stone walls. This wall we built in Port Hope eight years ago was greeted with mixed reviews when we first constructed it. The general public loved it and applauded the rustic look it gave to the property and the character it added to the street. The town and those in charge of planning and improvement hated it and wanted it taken down. There were those too who wondered whether it would last. Others were concerned about the hazard it presented to traffic. Cars might crash into it.
The wall eventually became part of the fabric of the street. It has since blended in to the surroundings and many people drive by just to admire it.

Over the years the wall has withstood various challenges including immense build ups of snow from plows continually clearing the rest of the road on to it. It is subject to constant flooding, periods of severe erosion and the onslaught of heavy machinery during various attempts at road rehabilitation along this section of the road. Interestingly enough, the municipal works department has had to come and fix this part of the road no less than four times since the wall was built. Most recently a major break in the water main had to be repaired in a make shift way last Christmas and now a more permanent rebuild of the road and major repairs to the underground water utilities have just now been completed.

No one asked back then when the first repair to that section of road was done (the wall was already two years old by then) whether the actual road surface would last. Has anyone noticed too that the wall has already lasted longer than the water main that ran under the road along that section?

I think we need to put things in perspective and recognize the things that actually do last and give dry stone walls a better shake.

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