City’s ‘worst’ street to undergo reconstruction

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published August 29, 2013

GROSSE POINTE CITY — The City’s “worst” street — as ranked by engineers — is going to get some much-needed restoration.

Goethe is going to be reconstructed from Washington to Fisher using 7-inch-thick concrete over a 6-inch aggregate base. During a meeting Aug. 19, the City Council unanimously approved a low bid from among three bidders from Detroit-based Fiore Enterprises LLC to perform the job for $266,077.75. Public Service Director Gary Huvaere said funds for the project were included in this year’s capital improvement program for streets.

“This is the worst street in Grosse Pointe,” City Manager Pete Dame said. “There is nothing worse in Grosse Pointe.”

City Council member Christopher Boettcher said he thought Goethe hadn’t been repaved since around the late 1980s or early 1990s. Huvaere said the original road likely dates back to the 1920s.

“It’s a really poor base — probably stone,” Huvaere told the council.

Dame said the street now has a rating of 2 on a road-rating scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best and 1 being the worst. According to a 2012 report from the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council, roads with ratings of 1-4 require more extensive structural improvements.

“It’s one of several blocks of failed streets (in the City),” Dame told officials.

Boettcher had asked about using asphalt instead of concrete because the lower cost would allow the City to fix more roads.

Although concrete is a more expensive fix initially than asphalt, administrators said the City’s engineers at Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick Inc. recommended concrete because it lasts longer and is more cost-effective over the long term. The price of asphalt has also “gone through the roof with the price of oil” in recent years, making it more costly than it was at one time, Huvaere said.

Dame pointed out that he’s seen evidence of concrete’s durability during his tenure with the City.

“We have virtually not touched our concrete streets” as opposed to those made of asphalt, he said.

Some officials were hoping to extend the project at least another block.

“How come we didn’t run (the paving project) through to Rivard and Washington?” Mayor Dale Scrace asked. “That (section) isn’t very good, either.”

Huvaere said the budget wouldn’t allow them to extend the work that far.

Dame said the cost of this project underscores the need to perform routine road maintenance rather than putting it off. In recent years, tight budgets have prevented the City from putting as much money into its roads as it did in better financial times.

“The lesson here is if you don’t put money in earlier, you end up spending more later,” Dame said.

In his report to officials, City Engineer Patrick Phelan, of AEW, said his firm has worked with Fiore Enterprises recently on projects in Grosse Pointe Woods and Center Line, and found the company to be “qualified for the proposed work” in the City.