It was a project over 80 years in the making. The famous bricks in downtown Flint that cover S. Saginaw Street was getting a well-deserved make-over and things were moving along as planned...until now.

It turns out thousands of bricks already relaid along the historic street will need to be removed and laid once again. The problem? According to reports, a special polymer sand wasn’t used the first time to lock the bricks into place and the bricks are already starting to shift.

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We told you back in May of 2022 that a multi-million dollar project was approved for a restoration project that would involve the 750,000+  bricks that make up the historic road through downtown Flint. The Flint City Council approved a contract with the state Department of Transportation to take on the $5.2-million project and according to Mlive, Flint’s share of the project will be $2.8 million.

The renovation was then scheduled so as to not interfere with Flint's popular downtown summer events such as Back to the Bricks and the Crim, which was the first renovation since the 1930s and would take about 2 years to complete. Since the project began, things have been moving along nicely with the second phase now underway.

It was during this second phase now underway that the construction team noticed that the bricks re-laid earlier this year on Saginaw Street, between Fifth and Third streets were starting to lift up.

“During construction, the construction team observed the recently installed bricks shifting on Saginaw Street between Fifth and Third streets,” Flint City Engineer Mark Adas said in a statement released by the city on Friday, September 29. “We evaluated the situation and determined the shifting was the result of an issue with the material being used to bed and lock the bricks".

According to Mlive, the bricks need to be removed and re-installed using polymer sand to prevent shifting and the whole process will take three weeks for each block of the work to be redone in those areas.

*Update: 10/3/23

According to a City of Flint press release, utility upgrades and brick restoration between Second and First Streets are expected to be complete by the end of November 2023 as planned. In addition, the bricks between Court and Third Streets will be reinstalled with polymer sand and will be at the engineering firm’s expense, and not the taxpayers’. The work is expected to take about three weeks per block.

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