Saline Balks at Request for Higher Price for Roundabout

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 11/05/2019 - 00:32

Saline City Council balked at the Washtenaw Road Commission's request for for the city to increase the amount of money the city will pay to complete the 2020 Textile/Woodland Drive roundabout project.

The commission is asking for more money because the low bidder for the project, C&D Hughes, bid $779,000 for the project - 24 percent more than the estimated cost of $627,000. According to Brett Schlack, assistant director of engineering for the county, while the cost increased, the amount of money the federal government planned to kick in remains $473,000. That means the local share of the project has increased to $306,000.

The county is asking the city to increase its contribution from $58,000 to $101,000. Beyond constructing a roundabout, the county plans to improve drainage with an enclosed storm sewer, create a crosswalk and reconstruct Woodland Drive from the Rec Center parking lot driveway to the roundabout.

Schlack told council that high material costs drove to the prices up.

Saline DPW Director Jeff Fordice said he was still supportive of the project.

"It went from being an incredible bargain to a good bargain," Fordice said. "It's still a discounted price for us."

The city is planning to use road millage funds to pave Woodland Drive between Davco and Rec Center parking lot. Fordice said this would be "the cheapest part" of the Woodland Drive project. Having the county design and manage the project was advantageous because of the complexity of trying to coordinate a construction project with an intersection with a roundabout.

Some members of council, including Jack Ceo and Linda TerHaar, were supportive of the road commission's request. 

Ceo moved a motion to alter the agreement to increase the city's contribution to the project.

"The reason I moved the motion is because I strongly believe what Director Fordice told us - that this is still a good deal for the City of Saline," Ceo said. "I hate to look a gifthorse in the mouth just because it's no appearing to look like a gift pony."

Ceo said it was risky to turn down federal funds.

Councillor Christen Mitchell said she couldn't support paying the higher cost for a project that felt like it was a Pittsfield Township project.

Councillor Dean Girbach asked why Pittsfield Township wasn't paying a share of the project. Schlack explained that major roads in townships were the responsibility of the county.

Girbach said he felt like the city was being asked to pay too much of the increase. He suggested the city was being put in a tough spot. It wasn't the city that recommended an expensive roundabout over a cheaper signaled intersection, Girbach said. And now with the bid 24 percent higher, the city's share was jumping by more than 70 percent.

Mayor Brian Marl agreed with Girbach's assessment and suggested he'd be willing to meet the county somewhere between the original ask and new ask.

Marl asked Schlack if the county could find a way to trim the city's share of the cost. Council voted 7-0 to postpone action. The matter will be discussed Nov. 18.

 

 

 

Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of TheSalinePost.com. He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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