Roads & Construction

Published October 24, 2017

At 5:54 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23, a water main break occurred in West Bloomfield Township near 14 Mile Road between Farmington and Drake roads.

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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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Published October 2, 2017

FARMINGTON HILLS — City officials said they are attempting to fix an area of flooding on Halsted Road, south of 14 Mile Road.

The Farmington Hills City Council discussed the issue at a study session Sept. 25, and Kevin McCarthy, superintendent of public works for the city of Farmington Hills, said a solution is in the works. He said the problem spans decades.

“It’s been flooding since the 1940s,” McCarthy said, adding that the city is looking at a design template to correct the problem. 

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Published September 27, 2017

HUNTINGTON WOODS — During the City Commission’s Sept. 19 meeting, Consumers Energy provided an update about its gas main projects.

According to Ron Sarata, director of gas customer deliverability at Consumers Energy, three gas main projects are on the schedule to be done in 2017, with one already completed earlier this year, one reaching completion and another to start soon.

He said Consumers Energy plans to invest more than $5 million into infrastructure replacement in Huntington Woods alone.

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Published September 27, 2017

Work on Metropolitan Parkway and Dequindre Road will be in full motion in the upcoming weeks as the 2017 construction season winds down, according to Sterling Heights officials.

At a Sept. 19 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Vanderpool summarized upcoming work along stretches of Metro Parkway, also known as 16 Mile Road. The City Council later unanimously voted via the consent agenda to approve spending for that road’s projects.

“Obviously, these are some of the worst sections of Metro Parkway,” Vanderpool said.

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Published September 26, 2017

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Road Commission for Oakland County officials are recommending a traffic roundabout at the Adams and Gunn roads intersection, to be constructed next summer.

Ten crashes and 11 injuries at the intersection within a one-year period initiated the installation of a four-way stop sign, Tom Blust, Road Commission director of engineering, said during a Sept. 12 presentation to the Oakland Township Board of Trustees.

Delta Kelly Elementary School is located at the northwest corner of the intersection, which sees 14,000 cars per day, Blust said.

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Published September 26, 2017

ST. CLAIR SHORES — City officials say they intend to seek liquidated damages for delays on the completion of the 10 Mile Road sanitary relief sewer project, which is behind schedule.

Speaking at the Sept. 18 City Council meeting, City Manager Mike Smith said that while work was expected to wrap up that week on the portion of the project along Jefferson Avenue, the underground work on 10 Mile Road still had not been finished, despite being scheduled for completion by the end of July.

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Published September 25, 2017

FERNDALE — Three CN Railroad intersections in the city of Ferndale will have barriers installed this fall in order to create “quiet zones,” in which passing trains won’t have to blare their horns as they come through town.

The $1 million CN Railroad project will see barriers installed between the traffic lanes that will prevent people from trying to drive around the downed gate and trying to cross the rail.

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Published September 22, 2017

The summer of 2017 saw the first portion of the infamous Interstate 75 modernization project get underway in Bloomfield Township and Auburn Hills.

By this time next year, the Michigan Department of Transportation hopes to take the rest of the plan into overdrive and cut the duration of the construction work nearly in half.

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Published September 21, 2017

METRO DETROIT — The summer of 2017 saw the first segment of the controversial Interstate 75 modernization project get underway in Bloomfield Township and Auburn Hills.

By this time next year, the Michigan Department of Transportation hopes to take the rest of the plan into overdrive and cut the duration of the construction work nearly in half, wrapping up by 2020, or about 10 years sooner.

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Published September 19, 2017

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — A DTE Energy gas main and meter replacement project in Grosse Pointe Farms is taking a bit longer than expected, but officials with the utility are trying to finish up some work before winter sets in.

“Before winter hits, we want to be fully restored” in areas where work was already done, explained Jeffrey Parks, principal supervisor for gas operations with DTE. Parks, who addressed the Farms City Council during a meeting Sept. 11, said they want to complete restoration work so they don’t run into problems over the winter.

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Published September 19, 2017

WEST BLOOMFIELD — On July 5, a jury in Oakland County’s 6th Circuit Court reached a verdict in a 2015 Northwestern Connector project case involving the Road Commission for Oakland County.

The RCOC began working on the Northwestern Connector project in 2014. The project involved refiguring the 14 Mile Road and Northwestern Highway intersection and building a roundabout at the 14 Mile and Orchard Lake roads intersection. 

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Published September 12, 2017

FARMINGTON HILLS — The offices of the state attorney general and Gov. Rick Snyder hold the answers to what Farmington Hills officials can do next with a charter amendment ballot proposal, after the Attorney General’s Office rejected the charter amendment ballot language.

Assistant City Manager Gary Mekjian said the ballot language sent to the state Attorney General’s Office was designed to exempt property owners currently involved in an active special assessment district from a pending road millage until their SAD has expired.

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