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It takes a lot of weight to bend sturdy metal plates until they are so warped that they take on a new shape.
And when they’re on a sidewalk on one of the busiest streets in the city, the shape-shifting plates are transformed into a hazard, when they’re meant to be a safety measure for pedestrians.
We were trudging along the west side of Yonge St., between Park Home and Ellerslie Aves., during the daylong downpour on Tuesday when we came across a utility maintenance well in the sidewalk.
It would have escaped our notice if we hadn’t snagged a toe on a raised edge at one end of the plates covering the well, propelling us into a semi-stumble. We were in no danger of falling, but it sure did get our attention.
Two large plates are inlaid in the sidewalk, bookended by slats that allow air into the cavity below, which looks like it has something to do with a new condo tower next to it.
The plates covering the well are supposed to be flush with the surrounding sidewalk, to ensure that pedestrians can walk across them without tripping.
But for some reason, these plates are warped so that they dip down in the middle, creating a raised edge at the point where they meet the air slats.
Hmmm. What could have bent the plates, constructed of sturdy metal, in such a way that they have taken on a concave shape?
It looked to us as though they’ve been rolled, likely by the wheels of heavy trucks passing over them, on their way to and from the condo building while it was still under construction.
Another tipoff was a big dumpster box next to the north wall of the condo; you could draw a straight line from the plates to it.
A Google Street View image from last June shows that the plates were also warped then, but not as badly as they are now. Clearly, their sunken shape has been a while in the making, and we’re quite likely not alone in tripping over them.
STATUS: Rick Helary, who’s in charge of road operations in that area, emailed to say large traffic barrels and caution tape will be put up around the utility well until the city can identify who’s responsible for the plates, and have them replaced.
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