Work crews are making slow progress on fixing an important part of the historic Stockyards in Fort Worth. A water main break heavily damaged East Exchange Avenue last week, where the brick pavement has lined the streets for more than a century.
"This was once 128 acres of hand land brick, that was cattle pens, horse and mule barns," said Kristin Jaworski, Fort Worth Herd trail boss. "They worked so hard to build this and we work hard to preserve it."
But preserving the history of the bricks isn't easy, especially when you have to put it back together.
Last week's water main break buckled bricks and jarred concrete sidewalk loose, leaving crews with a long process to get things back before the break. The break only took about 12 hours to repair, but the repair work to the brick will last another six weeks.
"You can't do it in one day," said city spokesman Bill Begley. "It takes a little extra, you want to take your time, these bricks mean something to the people there and we're trying to preserve these bricks as much as possible."
Work crews carefully removed the bricks by hand and spent most of the day cleaning off the old grout from the bricks on Tuesday in preparation of using them again.
"They have a special sand and cement mix that they use between the bricks," Begley said. "They pack them in tightly so that they're safe and that they're stable. They use water to wet it down and when it solidifies it pulls them in tighter to make a stronger base."
A stronger base steeped in history and a process appreciated by those dedicated to the history of the Stockyards.
"It's important that we maintain this area," Jaworski said. "I've watched it everyday as I've gone by, safety is most important, and then preserving the street, which we think was laid in the early 1900s, 1910, we're still able to use it."
Work crews are fixing small sections at a time and keeping a lane open to enter the Stockyards. Work should be complete by mid-September.