2012-05-24 / Front Page

Crews make progress in project

Infrastructure work creates some ‘inconveniences’

MANISTIQUE – Residents on the east and west sides of Manistique are currently living in the midst of an $8.6 million infrastructure project meant to upgrade water, sewer and storm sewer lines. According to one city official, while the construction process has resulted in some early inconveniences, its overall benefit is already becoming apparent.

Garden Avenue, the first east side street to see construction, has already produced obstacles, explained City Manager Sheila Aldrich. Among these – the discovery that, below the road surface, shale sits above the deteriorating lines.

“They (Elmer’s Crane and Dozer, Inc., of Traverse City) have determined that they’ve had to blast, and, in blasting, they have disrupted some water and sewer lines, that, because of age, have just disintegrated,” she explained. “This had caused some leaks, and consequently, some disruptions in water service for the residents.” According to Aldrich, the problems with the water lines have likely been rectified – with the use of a two inch PVC pipe running along the sidewalk of Garden Avenue. Residents were connected to this pipe Monday, and it will be used as a temporary water line until the new one is in place.

Above, construction crew members dig a trench along Garden Avenue recently. At right, a close-up of the temporary water pipe, to be used by residents until the new water main is installed, is shown. 
Pioneer Tribune photo Above, construction crew members dig a trench along Garden Avenue recently. At right, a close-up of the temporary water pipe, to be used by residents until the new water main is installed, is shown. Pioneer Tribune photo “Everyone along Garden (Avenue) will be running off of this line, and, once the new water line is in place, that line will go away and the crews will move on to the sewer line,” she said.

Corey Barr, Manistique water/ wasterwater superintendent, explained the temporary water line will most likely not cause any water pressure problems for residents, and will be typical of all streets included on the west side project, due to the blasting process.

The temporary water line will not cost the city any additional money, Barr noted, since its placement was built into the contract. As crews install, test, and sanitize the new water main, residents will be connected to it and taken off the temporary line.

Another side effect of the blasting and subsequent water leaks has been crews staying later than originally intended.

“That’s why they (crews) have been there at night,” said Aldrich. “They have been getting approximately three leaks a day, and have been doing everything they can to get the water running again for everyone.”

While getting the temporary water pipe up and running, the construction crews kept busy by doing some blasting on Michigan Avenue, she said, adding that the crews returned to Garden once the line was installed.

Due to regulations, Aldrich explained the three lines will have to be put in separately, and spaced 10 feet apart. This means workers will work their way down Garden Avenue, staggering crews and placing sections of water, sewer and, lastly, storm sewer mains as they move to each intersection.

“Right now, the water and sewer are in the same trench, meaning the water supply could be contaminated by a broken sewer line,” she said. “That’s no longer allowed, so we have to dig separate trenches for each line. With those 10 feet of space, contamination is very unlikely.” During a recent city council meeting, member approved a change order for the entire infrastructure project, explained Aldrich. To make things easier for crews, council approved a change from 4 to 6 inch sewer pipe laterals, or the pipes running from the main sewer line to each individual residence.

“Everyone will get a new lateral off the main line, meaning if there is a problem with their sewer, a city crew can go to that cleanout, camera it … and fix the problem,” she said. “We’ll camera it and clean it out twice a year.”

The cost of this change order will be $10,905 for the east side, and $19,628.79 on the west side. Also under construction is Elk Street, on the west side. According to Aldrich, construction crews were able get under the railroad tracks, and will be putting in a storm sewer line to drain everything for that area of town. Elk Street will need to be complete before the Michigan Department of Transportation begins work they have scheduled for the west side section of M-94.

“They will be using Elk as the detour once they begin work on M-94 around July 9,” she explained. “So this street has priority.”

No blasting is expected on the west side of Manistique, noted Aldrich, as sand is more prevalent beneath the road surface on that side.

The entire infrastructure project is expected to be completed by Nov. 14, said Aldrich, with the first to inches of paving done by the end of October.

“We understand it’s an inconvenience right now,” she explained. “But the leaks caused from the blasting are showing these pipes were a disaster waiting to happen.”

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