2012-05-03 / Front Page

West side utility improvement project underway, east side will start May 7

City Manager Sheila Aldrich updates community on time lines

Above is the M-94 Construction Detour Routing Plan designed by Coleman Engineering Company. Construction crews have started stage one of the construction project.Residents on Manistique’s east and west sides woke to the sounds of heavy equipment Monday morning, as construction on the city’s $8.6 million dollar utility improvement project got underway.

Contracts signed earlier this year call for the project to be completed on or before Nov. 14, with all work performed between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

According to City Manager Sheila Aldrich, both the east and west side crews have no intentions of working on weekends, but as the project progresses those plans could change to include Saturdays.

“The phone has already started to ring at city hall” Aldrich said.

The project is still in the mobilization phase. Residents will experience some inconvenience when things shift to the construction phase, but Aldrich said they want to assure everyone that several steps are in place to make the project as painless as possible.

According to Aldrich, the contract calls for crews to notify residents in advance if it is necessary to shut water off or block access to their driveways for a period of time – both situations that will be necessary at some point during the construction.

“It will happen,” she said. “These things are part of a project like this. The contract states that residents will have access to their driveways at all times, unless someone informs them in advance that work is going to be done in front of their home, making it necessary to block access for a short period of time.”

Aldrich also said that both crews understand the importance of communication as a key to keep people informed of situations that will affect their day-to-day activities.

“Several things can happen,” she said. “If they have plans to go camping and need to get their trailer out, or if they need to have something delivered to their homes, we will work with them.”

Project manager Kevin Trevillian of Coleman Engineering added that there could be short periods of time when crews are working in front of a driveway and other accommodations will have to be made.

But he stressed that access will be maintained for emergency vehicles at all times.

Another issue residents should be prepared for is noise and dust.

“They should expect noise. There is no way around that,” Trevillian said. “That said, work starts at 7, and that means they are not supposed to fire up their equipment at 6 and let it run for an hour. Again, no work is to be performed between the hours of 8 p.m. and 7 a.m., unless an emergency makes it necessary to work outside the scope of the contract.”

According to Trevillian, there is no noise ordinance within the city limits for construction projects of this nature, but crews are expected to control the dust until the streets are paved.

The schedule for the city’s east side shows work set to start at Garden Avenue May 7, with a completion date of July 6. Michigan Avenue July 9 through Sept. 7. Manistique Avenue Sept. 10 through Nov. 9, with clean-up and demobilization Nov. 12 through 16.

Aldrich said the plan calls for work to be completed on one street before starting another.

“We have been told that is the plan,” she said, but added, “that does not include paving of streets on the east side.”

Trevillian said that while the street surfaces remain gravel, it is the responsibility of the contractor to control dust and keep the streets passable.

“Portions of the east side will remain gravel for a while,” he said. “It would have added unnecessary costs to the project if we would have stipulated they had to pave it up right away.”

While not in the plan, it may become necessary to blast portions of streets on the east side, as well.

“Don’t rule it out,” Trevillian said. “It very well could happen.”

Aldrich noted that Elmer’s Crane and Dozer, the project contractor for the east side, has already run into issues with blue dolomite.

Work will be performed within the city right-of-way and does not include sidewalk replacement at this time.

Each residence will have a new lateral from the main to where the city property ends, with a clean out.

As a rule, sidewalks affected by utility construction will be the only ones replaced.

Utility improvement projects

“If we have to take out portions of the sidewalk to install a water and sewer lateral, that portion will be replaced,” Trevillian explained.

The city of Manistique has also received a Safe Routes to School infrastructure grant and will be replacing sidewalks in and around the utility project later this fall.

Work on the west side, which started May 1, is another story.

Unlike the east side, West Elk Street, which is part of the Chippewa Avenue detour route, will be paved before traffic is diverted onto it.

Completion of that portion of the project is expected by July 9.

The detour route will start on South Mackinac Avenue to West Elk and will be changed to South Chippewa once work at the intersection at South Chippewa and Deer Street is complete July 20.

Work on M-94 from Chippewa to 5th Street is set to follow, starting with the removal of pavement, sidewalks and curb along that route. Pavement is scheduled for Sept. 17.

Also unlike the east side, there is no set schedule for work to start on 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th streets.

Aldrich said they asked the west side contractor, Hebert Construction, to focus on 1st and 2nd streets because of the businesses located there who are dependent on traffic.

“They understand that there are two newly-acquired businesses located there who have real concerns about traffic to their establishments,” Aldrich said.

In another departure from the east side work, sidewalks along M-94 will be replaced.

In addition, two new “pocket parks” are planned for the intersections of North 1st Street and South 3rd Street.

In order to keep residents informed, progress meetings are scheduled for the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, at City Hall. Updates for work on the city’s west side are set for 11 a.m., with the east side updates set for 1 p.m.

While Aldrich encourages residents to call if they have issues, workers from both crews also are willing to address concerns on site.

“They are used to having the public ask questions,” Aldrich said.

Aldrich advises caution when approaching the work sites, urging people to maintain a safe distance from machinery and keep an eye on children playing in their yards.

Trevillian stressed the importance of communication throughout the project as a key.

“If a property owner has any concern, we need to address it right at the time,” he said. “If someone does not like the way their driveway looks or they don’t think their grass is planted right, we want to hear about it. Those issues just don’t go away.”

Aldrich agreed, stating, “These are their streets. They are the ones that have to live on them, and we want them to be happy with the finished product.”.

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