Project nears final phases
MANISTIQUE – A multi-million dollar infrastructure project continues to make progress on both the east and west sides of Manistique. Officials expect the project to see finishing stages completed throughout October, with a final completion date set for mid-November.
The project includes upgrading water, sewer and storm sewer lines throughout the city, and is funded through a USDA Rural Development grant and city matches. Separate projects, including a Michigan Department of Transportation M-94 upgrade and a Safe Routes to School grant-funded sidewalk replacement on the east side, are running concurrently with the $8.6 million infrastructure project.
Early obstacles in the project included: the addition of blasting through shale beneath the surface of the east side, addressing contaminated soil on south First Street, ordering a different size lateral for both sides, adding water and sewer upgrades for the previously excluded Elk Street, and the city’s agreement to pay out-of-pocket the $99,225 needed to replace previously excluded sidewalks on the west side.
According to Kevin Trevillian, project engineer for Coleman Engineering, the firm handling the massive infrastructure project, things have been going more smoothly in recent weeks. On the west side, he said work on M-94 and on First through Fourth streets is ongoing.
“All of the underground utility should be done within the next two weeks,” Trevillian explained. “After that, there’s one more phase to our detour, and that will include one-way traffic on Third Street and Fourth Street, while the Fifth Street intersection is closed.”
Following the new detour’s opening, the previously closed parts of M-94 will be opened, he added. The upcoming detour will allow crews to tie in the utilities and complete reconstruction to the section of M-94 and Fifth Street. Trevillian noted that, throughout September and into October, residents can expect crews to be completing final grading and paving of the roadways, along with the replacement of the sidewalks.
On the east side of town, Trevillian said construction also is going well, with all underground work expected to be complete by the middle of next week. Grading and paving of the roadways will follow the same timeline as the west side project, but the sidewalk schedule may differ. While construction crews will have replaced portions of sidewalks disturbed by their work by Oct. 1, the Safe Routes to School sidewalks will be done by mid-October.
According to City Manager Sheila Aldrich, this difference in completion date is due, in part, to the fact that there are two separate contractors working on the east side. Downstate company Hunt Brothers, Inc. will be completing the SR2S project, while construction company Arrow will be completing the contractor’s sections.
On the west side, Aldrich said the city does expect to save some of the over $99,000 they committed to replacing the sidewalks, as the contractor has requested that city crews remove sidewalks on First, Second, and Third streets.
One unknown in the project is Park Avenue – a previously included section that was eliminated early on.
“Park Avenue was part of the project from the beginning, and when the bids came in, they came in higher than what we thought,” Aldrich said. “Rural Development said we had to have at least a $700,000 contingency … so we had to pull Park Avenue.”
Aldrich added that if the project continues to be ahead of schedule and slightly under budget, the two blocks of Park Avenue, or a portion of it, will be added back into the project.
“We’re continuing to monitor both projects, and sometime this fall we will be making a determination about Park Avenue’s inclusion in the project,” Trevillian said.
Despite any of the pitfalls of the project, Aldrich thanked the residents for their support.
“The city is very appreciative of the patience that the residents have shown during a very disruptive construction project,” she said. “The beauty of it is that they can see the end product. We just appreciate them working with us – it sure makes everything easier.”