Business & Development

Published October 27, 2017

C&G Newspapers

Published October 20, 2017

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Engineers from Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick brought forward a change order that adds $183,580 to the projected cost of the 10 Mile Road sanitary relief sewer project after unforeseen boulders and unknown sewer leads disrupted work on the largest project currently ongoing in the city.

“We ran into some boulders. We ran into some very unique utilities coming through the construction site, that were not known by anyone, that were hit by the shaft,” said Kyle Seidel, senior project engineer with AEW, at the Oct. 16 City Council meeting.

He said the added charges amount to about 7.5 percent of the total $2.4 million contract, but members of City Council expressed concern that the contractor was asking for more money on a project that had already experienced delays and may have led to the flooding of two residential homes.

Mayor Kip Walby said that he had been contacted by the owners of two homes on 10 Mile Road whose basements flooded during the course of the work. The contractor, M-K Construction, denied responsibility to the city. City Manager Mike Smith said that the city is still working with the contractor’s insurance company to get it to pay for the damages, but St. Clair Shores has already helped the residents clean up their homes.

“The only explanation that we have is that there was vandalism on the site,” Seidel said, explaining that a pipe was broken by sheet metal that the contractor says it did not put through the pipe.

“Whether it’s vandalism or not, the contractor’s responsible for protecting his site,” Walby countered. “It’s their responsibility to protect their site.”

Regardless of the alleged damage, Seidel said that the process has been slowed and made more costly by the boulders that had to be removed for the microtunneling process to continue. Because microtunneling was $300,000 less than the traditional open-cut method of installing a sanitary sewer line, even with the change order, “We should end up less (expensive) than the open-cut construction,” he said.

Delays have also been caused by the contractor cutting back on overtime after the city did not pay a progress payment the first week of July, when City Council did not hold a meeting.

Community Development and Inspections Director Chris Rayes said, however, that the contractor was notified that City Council wouldn’t have a meeting July 3 at a progress meeting between the city and the contractor.

While some members of City Council said they would not want to pay the extra money to the contractor, City Attorney Robert Ihrie stressed that “sometimes issues come up” in a multimillion-dollar project such as this. The issues, he said, are not best resolved by withholding payment.

“My concern is that nonpayment will just exacerbate the issues,” he said. “The best way to get the project completed and to abide by a contractual obligation ... is to pay the payment that is due.”

Walby pointed out that the city has paid more than 50 percent of the contract already, but there is “still a significant amount of money sitting out there.”

Council members voted unanimously to approve the progress payment and the changes to the contract.

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