Saline City Council Approves Sidewalk Fix

 05/08/2016 - 12:44
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City DPW Director Jeff Fordice (left) with Mark Bonkowski of Precision Concrete Cutting talk about the project to remove trip hazards on Saline's sidewalks.

In 2013, the city authorized a sidewalk survey to identify problems and trip hazards. Last summer Saline City Council approved a contract with Precision Concrete Cutting of Holland, to remedy 90 percent of the trip hazards by trimming the concrete where vertical separation was found.

Precision has since been making more cuts than were originally included in the contract. On May 2, Saline City Council considered a change order to address this increase.

Mark Bonkowski, president of Precision, came to speak to council members.

“This project has been running on time or ahead of schedule with substantial savings to the city, in excess of a million dollars for the work that has been performed,” Bonkowski said. “That is in comparison to the cost of doing demolish and replace which is typically a disruptive process.”

“We are able to resolve these vertical separations and other defects in the sidewalk at upwards of a seventy to eighty percent savings over that alternative and yet without disruption.”

Bonkowski went on to say that many of the extra cuts were because of problems that his company missed in the initial survey. He said that his company would repair these without additional charge, which otherwise would have cost the city about $58,000 extra.

Department of Public Works Director Jeff Fordice said that other cuts were also added to the work order and these should be the city’s responsibility. Many of these were trip hazards on sections of sidewalks that were scheduled for future replacement.

“I decided that it made sense to eliminate that hazard and that liability quickly as we worked through the longer term process of the demolition and replacement phase of the project,” Fordice said.

There were also some new trip hazards caused by rapidly growing trees lifting slabs or by construction vehicles compressing them, he said. Paying for the additional repairs added by the DPW should be the city’s responsibility.

Various council members commented positively on the work done by Precision.

“It was almost a pleasure to be pushing snow on my sidewalk and my neighbor’s sidewalk without jarring into the slabs,” said councilman David Rhoads.

“It is amazing how much of a difference there is in terms of walkability and safety and ability to move with ease,” said Mayor Brian Marl.

Councilwoman Linda TerHaar noted her agreement with Fordice’s decision to fix the trip hazards on slabs scheduled for later replacement.

Councilwoman Janet Dillon asked Bonkowski when the project would be completed. He said that it would be done by the agreed time in the contract which is June 30, but their target date is to finish by the end of this month.

Councilman Jack Ceo asked whether we will soon be needing additional repairs. Fordice said this is not a concern.

“One of the benefits of working with Precision Concrete Cutting is they unconditionally guarantee the cuts,” Fordice said.

He said that if future problems arise, the city can call Precision and they will come out to make repairs. Councilman Dean Girbach was impressed by this, and he moved to approve the payment of an additional $35,520 to Precision for an extra 640 cuts.

The motion was seconded by Dillon and passed unanimously.

Robert Conradi
Bob Conradi Is a retired pharmaceutical scientist who has redefined himself as a photographer and journalist. He has lived in Michigan for 36 years and in the Saline area for 10. He enjoys researching and learning about new ideas. Follow him on Twitter at @RobertConradi.