Closeout of 10 Mile project waiting for decision

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 24, 2018

 City Council tabled a decision on contract modifications requested from the contractor that worked on the 10 Mile sanitary relief sewer project, which required drivers to use detours to get around the work, as seen in this photo of Jefferson Avenue and 10 Mile Road from September 2017.

City Council tabled a decision on contract modifications requested from the contractor that worked on the 10 Mile sanitary relief sewer project, which required drivers to use detours to get around the work, as seen in this photo of Jefferson Avenue and 10 Mile Road from September 2017.

File photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — City Council held off on making a decision about changes to the contract for the 10 Mile Drain project, modifications that were supposed to lead to the closeout of the project.

From encountering rocks, cobble and boulders not indicated in the soil boring report, to unmarked sanitary leads to houses along 10 Mile Road and extremely cold weather conditions that delayed progress, the contractor negotiated with engineering firm  Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick and several members of City Council on the costs requested in three contract modifications. 

The total additional amount requested was $620,464.48, bringing what was bid as a $2.4 million project up to about $3.5 million, taking into account contract modifications that have already been approved by the council.

“There’s some work that was additional for locating sanitary leads. Boulders or cobble encountered that slowed production. There were several basements that one of the sanitary leads were hit and, unfortunately, some basements backed up last summer,” said engineer Kyle Seidel, with AEW, at the Sept. 17 City Council meeting. “The contractor had to shut down after Christmas to Jan. 15, 16, where we had sub-freezing temperatures.

“Ultimately, we had negotiated a price with the contractor.”

Seidel said that neither the engineering firm nor the contractor had anticipated running into these issues when the contract was bid. A report from the firm that conducted the soil boring tests said that it was “unusual” to find so many rocks and boulders at that depth of the soil, but the contractor ran into problems with rocks on seven out of 10 runs with the microtunneling machine, Seidel said. 

He said the contractor had requested another half-million dollars that AEW and the city negotiated down to the modifications the contractor was now requesting.

“They actually asked for more than $4 million,” said Mayor Kip Walby. “I think this has been a contentious item, and it still is.”

Council members agreed that the project had been very frustrating for all involved.

Councilman John Caron questioned how AEW and the contractor had arrived at a total of 36 days worked past the contracted completion date of November 2017 when work wasn’t done for another 159 days after that, by his count.

Per the contract, the city was to be paid $1,300 per day over the contracted end date, but the contractor is negotiating with the city on the number of days to be paid because of circumstances like the rocks and extreme cold.

“This is something that we had contracted for $2.4 million. We’ve already paid them $2.9 million. I do not see myself voting to approve this change or the rest of the fees. I feel we paid in full,” Caron said.

But Councilman Peter Accica said that sometimes costs rise because of unforeseen circumstances in construction. He said he believes it is the city’s responsibility to pay for the work.

Councilman Ron Frederick said that he didn’t have enough information about the modifications and the negotiations to make a decision Sept. 17. He made a motion, supported by Accica, to table the matter. The vote passed 5-2, with council members Peter Rubino and Caron opposed.

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