Coolidge construction expected to begin in less than a month

Project will cost Berkley $375,000

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published April 14, 2015

 Construction on Coolidge Highway just north of 12 Mile Road in Berkley is expected to begin in late April or early May as part of the advance-construction option done in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Construction on Coolidge Highway just north of 12 Mile Road in Berkley is expected to begin in late April or early May as part of the advance-construction option done in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

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BERKLEY — Now that the snow has cleared and spring is here, construction is set to begin on Coolidge Highway north of 12 Mile Road no later than early May.

Last July, the Berkley City Council approved the city pursuing an advanced-construction option from the Oakland County Federal Aid Committee that would allow the city to pay all costs up front for the Coolidge construction project, and then get a partial reimbursement from the Michigan Department of Transportation during the 2016 fiscal year.

Working within the advanced-construction option, the city has to adhere to the MDOT construction schedule, and MDOT has final approval, so Berkley Department of Public Works Director Derrick Schueller is expecting construction to begin the last week of April or the first week of May. MDOT is looking to approve the low bidder within the next week.

“This is an exciting day as we formalize the resurfacing of Coolidge, and this is just another step to starting construction,” Schueller said of approving the low bidder. “We were fortunate to get MDOT funding for 2016, which was a wonderful thing, but we have chosen to go through this advanced-construction option, where we can build it a full year earlier, and we are all very anxious to do that.”

Berkley’s engineering firm — Hubbell, Roth & Clark — completed the design phase for the project in December, and Florence Cement Company, of Shelby Township, provided the low bid at $785,863.50.

The bid was 10 percent higher than the engineering firm originally estimated, but the firm said oil prices and a busy construction schedule this year were the main factors in the increase.

“We opened bidding (in February) and it came in a little higher than expected, as MDOT bids are all coming in quite high,” Schueller said. “We took a stab at this when we were budgeting on cost, but HRC went through the bids and looked at everything. There is no reason to believe rebidding this would result in lower bids.”

The project cost will be split, with MDOT paying 60 percent of the construction costs and Berkley paying 40 percent, so the city will be paying about $315,000 for construction, plus $60,000 to HRC for engineering costs.

When construction is underway, the crews will mill 4 inches of asphalt on both northbound and southbound Coolidge for half a mile before repairing any base problems with the cement underneath. Then, a new 4-and-a-half inches of asphalt will be laid back over the road.

HRC Executive Vice President Tom Biehl said the project should have a seven- to 10-year lifespan and could be stretched to 15 years with proper maintenance.

“A section of Coolidge north of the city limits was done in 2013 by the (Oakland County) Road Commission, but it didn’t work out to get ours done then,” Biehl said. “With the base repairs, mill and overlay, this can be stretched out to 15 years, but when you see some reflective cracking in the first years, it is important to do sealing to keep water out when you do see that.”

Because of the MDOT scheduling, the project must be completed by July 31, HRC Vice President Roland Alix said.

The project will be completed in two stages, with crews closing southbound Coolidge first and only allowing traffic to go in one direction on the northbound side. A detour will be clearly marked, Alix said, to allow vehicles to still travel south.

Then, when southbound Coolidge is complete, the crews will begin work on the northbound section, with traffic only able to travel south during that time.

“It is important engineering-wise, when you have concrete base pavement that is 40-50 years old and not in the best of shape, to eliminate vehicular traffic from that lane,” Alix said. “So, during that time, no traffic will be on that side of the road, and that is why we are doing one-way direction of traffic in two stages.”

Schueller said he has spoken with MDOT officials, and they said the city can apply for reimbursement of the state’s 60 percent as early as October, when MDOT’s fiscal year begins. While the time frame is not guaranteed, Schueller said the city should expect the money within a month of applying for reimbursement.

“The MDOT process for this is intense, and we have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to tread through these waters,” he said. “Anytime you receive federal funds, there are certain steps you need to follow, and they dictate the schedule and the process. We will continue to push them and get started as soon as we can.”

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