A long section of Lake Shore Blvd. is as rough as a washboard to drive over, after a mixer truck spilled a huge amount of cement on the road.
We were tootling along the Lake Shore last week to get to the Toronto Star edifice, at the foot of Yonge St., when the car started making a rumbling sound and the steering wheel began vibrating.
That’s when we noticed a string of cement spilled along the road, where it had hardened into raised chunks that extended for hundreds of metres in the westbound lanes, from the Don Roadway over to the Cherry St. intersection.
It was rough enough that we turned around and pulled over to take pictures of it, and instantly understood that the culprit was a cement mixer truck that had “burped” and spilled some of its load.
A couple days later we got a note from Star editor Doug Cudmore, who also drives on Lake Shore, saying “there must have been a sloppy cement truck because there are hard blobs of the stuff all over the road.”
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He also sent us a photo of a similar cement spill on Freeland St., behind the Star building, where construction abounds and mixer trucks are a constant presence.
It’s another reminder of the accommodation required to live in a city that seems to be an endless construction zone, and an expectation that price of progress will always be paid by the citizenry.
As to the question of how cement is spilled on the road, we’ve written about it before and asked readers if anyone could explain it. A mixer truck driver sent us a revealing note about how they “burp” cement.
He said that if “a concrete mixer ‘burps,’ it means the truck is overloaded, or, for the amount that is in the mixer, the load is too liquid.
“If a truck is rated for eight metres cubed, it should only be loaded with six. Many companies, especially the smaller ones, will put eight metres cubed onto a truck with an eight-metre drum.
“If that load is not fairly dry, it will spill on hills or when the truck hits a bump or pothole,” then run down the spreading chute and onto the road, he said.
There were no bumps or potholes to cause the burping on Lake Shore, which means the mixer must have been loaded to the hilt when it left the cement plant in the Port Lands.
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As for burping, that’s an understatement. It’s as if the truck was a drunken teenager who staggered out of a boozy house party and vomited all over the lawn.
STATUS: We sent a note to transportation services, asking what could be done about it, if anything. Short of a bylaw enforcement officer witnessing a spill, there’s no way to prove responsibility. Tom Kalogiannis, the roads manager in the downtown core, emailed to say “our staff advised that they found small amounts of cement on the roadway that appears to be difficult to remove. The roadway remains in a safe condition for users.” OK, the road is bumpy but safe. But that’s no small spill. In fact it’s the worst we’ve ever seen, and another example of how much tolerance city officials have for the shortcomings of construction.
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