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Picking Colors: New Jackson Avenue Ramps to Match Surroundings, Stay Historically Accurate 
A team carefully compared samples of brick, mortar and colored concrete to get the right look and feel for the new Jackson Avenue ramps.

We’ve all started a home interior painting project by going to the paint store and loading up on paint chips – and then anguishing over trying to pick the perfect color.

The process is surprisingly similar with the $8.7 million new Jackson Avenue Ramps, except that it’s a committee of engineers and landscape architects doing the color selection. 

And they’re hoisting and comparing heavy 12-inch concrete pavers and chunks of brick veneer, instead of 1-inch paper chips.

“The City and the construction team take seriously the objective of making the safe new ramps look and feel like the historic 100-year-old original,” Downtown Coordinator Rick Emmett says.

The new ramps, connecting Jackson Avenue and Gay Street in the Old City, are scheduled to be completed by Dec. 8, 2020. The project was necessary because the crumbling original ramps are structurally deficient.

Cassy M. Goldston with Vaughn & Melton Consulting Engineers says there were three color selections that needed to be made. The picks came from City staff, Vaughn & Melton (the project’s design engineer), and Ross/Fowler (landscape architect).

One choice was for the colored concrete for the sidewalk, bridge railing and bridge deck under pavers. 

“We wanted to match the Gay Street Viaduct,” Goldston says. “This colored concrete will get a sandblast finish that exposes the aggregate and gives it a more natural look.”

The color "Driftwood" was chosen for sidewalk and railing colored concrete to match the Gay Street Viaduct.

The colored concrete intentionally will not be sealed, so a slightly darker color was chosen to account for some fading over time.

The final choice? Solomon Colors’ “driftwood.”

The next job was selecting the brick veneer finish for the spaces under the western ramp. The Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) walls are strong and load-bearing, but the brick veneers will be more attractive.

“The masons provided three sample frames, and we narrowed it down to two options,” Goldston says. “Interestingly, the samples looked very different from one another, but when we held them up to the buildings to compare, they both matched very closely.”

A committee compares options for the brick veneer finish under the western ramp.

The team chose the darker sample with tan mortar – named “Moultrie,” manufactured by Meridian Brick.

“We chose this because it looks like an aged brick and resembles the historical look of the original ramps,” Goldston says.

Brick veneers will cover the Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) walls under the western ramp.

The last choice was the stamped colored concrete that will be poured on the lower sections of each ramp. The original pavers will be placed back on the upper parts of the decks, and the intent was for the new concrete to match the overall look of the early 1900s pavers.

The color-deciding group selected the “garnet” color by Solomon Colors in the “Pennsylvania Avenue” pattern, which features a more narrow grout line that gives it a more distinct paver stone appearance.

A team of engineers and landscape architects painstakingly tried to match new materials with originals at the Jackson Avenue ramps.

Which brick veneer best matches the look and feel of the Old City?
Posted by evreeland On 13 October, 2020 at 10:55 AM