Berkley roads to get reconstruction, water main replacement

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 27, 2021

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BERKLEY — The Berkley City Council approved a road reconstruction and water main replacement project at its Aug. 9 meeting.

The project will repair sections of Kenmore Road and Cornwall Street between 12 Mile and West Webster roads. The item approved at the meeting was for the design and engineering services to be conducted by the city’s firm, Hubbell, Roth & Clark, for $149,303.70.

The road reconstruction will be paid through Berkley’s road millage that was passed in 2018, which generates $1.1 million for infrastructure improvements each year.

The sections of Kenmore and Cornwall are about a half-mile in length and similar to a project on Harvard Road conducted in 2017 that repaired the street, sidewalks, curbs and put in a new water main.

Department of Public Works Director Derrick Schueller stated at the meeting that officials created a list of the worst half-mile segments in the city before narrowing down the list to six. Kenmore and Cornwall were selected, he said, because they had the most water main breaks over the last five years and because Consumers Energy is planning on replacing a gas main there as well this fall.

“Design takes several months,” he said. “We’re hoping to bid this out during the winter months and then have construction start next spring. The estimated construction cost is around $2.5 million dollars, so (it’s) a significant expenditure. We’ll be using road millage funds, as well as water main funds, to fund that.”

Schueller also took questions from the council on the project’s impact on the area. When asked by Councilman Dennis Hennen on if it will help mitigate basement flooding, Scheuller said this section does have restricted covers and Berkley will maintain that.

“The existence of the curb and gutter section here is pretty well nonexistent,” he said. “I think we’ll be able to more efficiently store water in the road section without it having to extend into folks’ front yards … We’re going to make sure that the line is structurally lined as we always do and maintain those restricted covers.”

On a question from Councilman Steve Baker regarding the trees in the area and how they’ll be affected by the project, Schueller said they will make every attempt to save the trees there. The question was prompted by the Harvard Road project, which caused some trees to be removed.

Schueller added the city will work with engineers and arborists to evaluate the trees and determine which ones can be saved and which ones will have to be removed, taking into consideration factors such as elevations, the size of the easement and the health of the tree. He did reference that, in the Harvard project, they were able to plant more trees than were removed.

“We’ve got a lot of big trees on the north side and we’re going to make every attempt to try to save those, but we’re going to have constraints,” he said. “We’re going to have grading constraints, this is going to be all-new concrete, curb and gutter. We need to make sure that the right of way drains towards the road, so we need HRC looking at elevations to make sure that we’ve got the proper elevation, ultimately.”

According to city documents, final plans for the project will be completed by January 2022 and the bid process will follow in February. Construction is “tentatively planned” for the spring for 2022.

“If you haven’t seen Harvard or driven on Harvard to get a sense of what it looks like now, there’s certainly a stark contrast,” Mayor Dan Terbrack stated. “In general, a lot of that is the curbs and the gutters that are not super existent on many of our roads anymore.”

Terbrack also said Berkley is trying to plan improvements for these roads every four to five years.

“When we have the opportunity, we have funds, we can save to make a project like this happen, but it is very exciting when it does happen and especially once we’re able to complete this,” he said.