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New Silva Cells Being Installed in 700 Block of S. Gay Street Will Help New Elm Trees to Flourish 
Crews have started excavation on the west side of the 700 block of South Gay Street for installation of silva cells - infrastructure that will help trees to be planted to flourish.


Crews have started excavation on the west side of the 700 block of South Gay Street for installation of Silva Cells - infrastructure that will help new trees being planted later this year to flourish.


Starting this week, new cutting-edge tree root boxes are being added to the 700 block of South Gay Street that, for years to come, will lead to a leafy tree canopy with new bosque elms and everclear elms.

The hundreds of underground root boxes, or structural frames - a trademark product named Silva Cells - are being installed as part of a complete rebuild of the infrastructure in the 700 block of South Gay Street between Cumberland and Church avenues.

The 700 block work is scheduled to be completed by mid-June 2016. The block is closed to vehicles, but the intersections at Cumberland and Church avenues generally will remain open to east-west through traffic. Full pedestrian access to businesses on the east side of Gay Street in the 700 block will be maintained throughout the project.

The almost $1.5 million project – approved by City Council in September – will include utility upgrades, new pervious paver sidewalks, streetscape additions and new intersection paving. Uneven medallions at the Gay Street intersections with Church and Clinch avenues will be replaced. Intersection bulb-outs will be built to improve pedestrian safety and better define on-street parking.

For those who admire and enjoy shady tree-lined downtown streets, the Silva Cells are a crucial component. 

The new street trees will benefit from greater soil volume provided by the underground structural cells that also support the sidewalk.

Previously planted trees had outgrown their spaces and buckled the sidewalks over the years. The new elm trees going in will be more upright and less likely to interfere with traffic, parked cars and the buildings on the east side of the street as the trees mature.

The sidewalk infrastructure itself will be helpful in nurturing urban trees and preventing root damage to the new sidewalks. First, the streetscape work includes new pervious paver sidewalks. These have been used before in other projects, but not on a streetscape project of this size. The pervious pavers help tree roots get moisture, and they also help in managing stormwater during major storms because water is absorbed over the length of the block rather than merely channeled down the street.

Second, the street trees will benefit from the Silva Cells, because they support the weight of the overhead sidewalk and reduce the need to compact the soil to support the sidewalk, which helps the tree roots. The Silva Cells also maximize the quality and amount of available soil, and they encourage the roots to grow downward, discouraging upward buckling.

The 700 block of South Gay Street is the last remaining block of Gay Street that hasn’t undergone an upgrade. Some of the infrastructure is a century old. And some sections of sidewalk are in bad shape, where uneven pieces have been patched together in small repairs made over the years. 

In addition, three telecommunications companies – Comcast, AT&T and Wow! – will be taking advantage of the City’s subterranean infrastructure work in the 700 block and will be installing new conduit for their companies. The coordination avoids the City and the companies doing separate digs and will create expanded services for the companies’ downtown customers.

Some sections of sidewalk in the 700 block of South Gay Street are unven due to years of patch repairs.
Some sections of sidewalk in the 700 block of South Gay Street are uneven after years of patch repairs.

Some sections of sidewalk in the 700 block of South Gay Street are uneven due to years of patch repairs.

New elm trees in the 700 block of South Gay will be aided by new silva cells, to be installed in coming weeks.
New elm trees in the 700 block of South Gay will benefit from the new Silva Cells, to be installed here in coming weeks.

The work in the 700 block of South Gay Street is scheduled to be finished in June.
The work in the 700 block of South Gay Street is scheduled to be finished in June.


Posted by evreeland On 18 February, 2016 at 5:05 PM