Engineering update

Panel hears news upcoming water system construction/Lake Bancroft pavilion

The public pavilion on the shores of Lake Bancroft in Ishpeming is seen in a wintry photo. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

ISHPEMING — Ishpeming officials plan to meet with engineers in the coming weeks to establish priorities for the final phase of the city’s $10.8 million water project.

The Ishpeming City Council learned Wednesday the project budget is expected to have around $575,000 in surplus after estimates for remaining planned work were calculated.

The project, which started in July 2017, was funded by an $8.98 million low-interest loan combined with a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Rural Utilities Service Program.

The upcoming work includes top course paving and a small amount of utility work in the Cleveland Location; Washington Avenue; water main work on Division Street/Business M-28; and work on Second Street’s water main and storm sewer.

GEI Consultants Project Engineer Brian Fabbri said a portion of the surplus would need to be used as contingency under USDA-RD guidelines.

“So, with the contract there is approximately $2.3 million worth of construction dollars left, and based on our estimates for work that has to be completed next year, that’s about $1.7 million,” Fabbri said. “So that leaves us with about $600,000 of extra money. Some of that is contingency on the work we still need to get done. So when it’s all said and done, we come to about $480,000 in money that we have left to spend, and that’s the grant money.”

The council voted in September to remove Salisbury Location as well as D and E streets from the water project in order to complete the infrastructure work on Division Street/Business M-28 from Pine Street to Seventh Street to coincide with a Michigan Department of Transportation project that will consist of milling and resurfacing the state trunkline.

“So right now we are still finalizing plans with (contractor A.) Lindberg (& Sons) to get storm sewer pricing along M-28 and work with MDOT to see what they will pitch in, if they will pitch in,” Fabbri said. “So right now it’s just planned for the road and water main until we can get that storm sewer pricing.”

He said, while D and E streets could possibly be put back into the project in light of the funding options, Salisbury Location would come well outside of the remaining budget, with the water main work estimated at $1 million.

“We definitely recommend that if we do anything over in Salisbury, that we do the sewer at the same time,” Fabbri said. “That’s all older down there.”

Fabbri said the next step in the process would be for engineers to meet with City Manager Mark Slown and Department of Public Works Director Carl Peterson to devise the best course of action.

Fabbri also provided the council with an update on the Lake Bancroft pavilion. He said four initial bids for the project came in well over the $547,000 project budget, which consists of $300,000 in state grant funding, $250,000 from a community fund created by Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. and Eagle Mine, and a $50,000 commitment from the Ishpeming Downtown Development Authority.

GEI recently worked with the Lake Bancroft Park Area Development Committee to determine if the project could be modified to come under budget. The committee came to a consensus on a checklist of items that could be changed or eliminated to bring costs down. They also voted to approve a recommendation to the city council to accept the low bid and negotiate costs within budget.

“Our initial plan was to award it to the low bidder, negotiate it with the project scaled down and change some things to get within budget,” Fabbri said. “We talked to the DNR, and that is not allowed. We don’t have to rebid it, we can do a post-bid addendum, so basically we make all our changes, send it out to four bidders and hopefully one of them comes back under budget.”

Councilman Mike Tonkin, who is also a member of the Lake Bancroft committee, said the recommended changes would not alter the overall feel of the project.

“I think by paring things down and not really changing the concept, we should be able to bring everything down to (budget),” Tonkin said. “Because we did give them the Cadillac overall, in other words it had all the bells and whistles, so it wasn’t a surprise. But I think we are on the right page to keep things moving forward and get this built this year.”