Water work: New USDA funding to add Division Street not an option

Heavy equipment is used on First Street in Ishpeming to prepare the surface of the street for pavement installation. The Ishpeming City Council learned Wednesday that additional funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture was not available for work on Division Street. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

ISHPEMING — Ishpeming city officials will have to go back to “Plan A” to pay for water and sewer infrastructure replacement on Division Street/Business M-28.

During a regular Ishpeming City Council meeting Wednesday, GEI Consultants Project Manager Mark Stoor told council members that a request for additional federal funding for infrastructure work on Division Street from Pine Street to Seventh Street was not an option.

Stoor said that due to limitations put on contractor A. Lindberg and Sons by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, city officials would again have to consider removing several other smaller areas already included in the scope of the $10.7 million project in order to complete the work on Division Street.

“Unfortunately, because of the way that works, the contractor would have to hold prices. With this being additional work rather than substitution work, there was no way for the contractor to do that because he is locked in with all of his subcontractors,” Stoor said. “So he was looking at cost increases in the 30 to 40 percent range for subcontractors for the work for next year.”

The city had originally approached the USDA requesting permission to substitute the stretch of M-28 for one or more smaller areas due to a Michigan Department of Transportation milling-and-resurfacing project on the state trunkline slated for 2019.

Stoor said between $600,000 to $650,000 would be needed to replace water and sanitary sewer infrastructure on Division Street.

Work in two final areas of the USDA project, Salisbury Location and D Street and E Street, have been postponed until next year in order to determine the best course of action, Stoor said.

“As of right now we have not selected an area,” Stoor said. “We are looking at holding off on the other neighborhoods to see which have to come out.”

He said the decisions would have to be made closer to the end of the year once the remaining project budget had been determined.

The council approved a draw of nearly $799,000 to pay contractors and engineers for completed USDA project work. The amount represents the 11th draw since the beginning of the project in July 2017.

A roughly $100,000 pay application from A. Lindberg and Sons as well as a change order of about $14,000 were also unanimously approved by the council.