Saline Faces Rising Costs for Michigan Avenue Reconstruction Project

 03/16/2016 - 19:08
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Contractors are already at work making way for the relocation of utilities. Wednesday, several trees along Michigan Avenue in Oakood cemetery were removed or trimmed.

Saline City Council took another step in the US 12 reconstruction project this week. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) presented the city with a contract which Council approved unanimously.

The contract divides the project into four parts, assigning percent financial responsibility of the federal government, MDOT and the City of Saline for each part. The parts are as follows: A, water main replacement (Monroe to Maple); B, sanitary main replacement (Lewis to Harris) and parking lane paving; C, street scape replacement and expansion; D, irrigation system and street name sign lighting.

The project was let out for bidding early this month and four bids were submitted. The low bid for the combined four parts was about 15 percent higher than had been estimated.

Part B came in 46 percent higher than anticipated, and the city pays all of this. Part D, which is also all the city’s responsibility, came in 63 percent higher. Some other costs came in lower partially offsetting the total.

The total estimated cost to the city is now $1,442,143. City Manager Todd Campbell felt that this number was reliable, but noted that overall costs could change a little once workers see what is actually in the ground.

If all goes smoothly, Campbell said work by MDOT will begin in early to mid April. It is expected to be completed by the end of November.

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As councilman Jack Ceo noted, citizens have probably noticed some work occurring already. This is preparatory work by DTE, to relocate some gas lines and some power poles, so they will be out of the way of the road construction.

All of the councilpersons had questions about various aspects of the plan, but all decided it was worth the cost. Councilman Dean Girbach noted that although cost increases were a real concern, he was glad they were partially offset by savings and was happy to see that over 80 percent of the water main cost will be paid by the federal government.

“I think from our perspective that this is going to be a 30-year plan,” Girbach said. “The aspects of the sewer and some of these other pieces I think are going to be well valued as we put them in from a cost point of view.”

“Yes, there are other potential other things we could do, but I think this is one of our key items and this additional cost is something that is valued and that we should be, as a community, proud to invest in our infrastructure,” said Girbach.

As a reminder, during the construction, eastbound traffic will be diverted to Henry Street. Henry Street is to be repaved after it’s use as a detour.

An assessment of a number of the historic structures is planned for the end of March.  A structural engineer that specializes in historic structures will examine the buildings before and after the project to see if foundations were affected. Property owners interested in this service should contact DPW Director Jeff Fordice.

There will be an open house about the US-12 reconstruction project at Liberty School cafeteria on March 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. MDOT representatives and consulting engineers will be present to answer questions about all aspects of the project.

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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.