Ishpeming City Council approves changes to water project

ISHPEMING — Ishpeming residents may notice construction workers and heavy equipment out in force as the city’s water project moves into full swing.

The $10.8 million project, which began in July, is expected to replace one-quarter to one-third of the city’s aging water infrastructure, and will involve up to three construction crews working in the city simultaneously.

Residents in work zones can expect water service interruptions, altered or reduced access to homes and businesses and restricted access to on-street parking during construction. More information on traffic maintenance plans for the Superior and Lake streets and 8th Addition areas is available on the city’s website at www.ishpemingcity.org, its Facebook page or at Ishpeming City Hall.

For both project areas, homeowners are asked to use alleyways — which will be left open — for access and parking as much as possible, according to the plans.

The Ishpeming City Council approved three items related to the project during a special meeting Monday, including the authorization of a request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to use about $118,000 in project contingency funds to repair portions of roadways that are in poor condition and adjacent to, but not directly affected by, the ongoing project.

City Manager Mark Slown said a survey of the streets involved in the project was recently conducted to determine their conditions.

Slown said repairing or replacing water infrastructure typically only involves one lane of traffic on a city street, but sometimes repaving one side of a street in poor condition can cause additional problems.

“All we really have to do is dig a 10- to 12-foot wide trench in order to complete the work, which is half the width of the road,” Slown said. “Which means repaving the street where we are disrupting the pavement is the only thing really covered by the USDA project funds. They are not necessarily going to pay for the other half of the roadway. The council has authorized the engineer to request the use of those contingency funds to repave the other half of some of those portions of roadway that are in bad shape. If you try to pave one part of a bad street, water and ice can get under the pavement and cause problems in the future.”

He said the request will include portions of Superior Street, Lake Street, Fourth Street, a section of Pine Street in downtown and a section of Pearl Street.

Due in part to the expected changes in paving, the council unanimously approved an A. Lindberg and Sons’ request for a 15-day extension for some portions of the project, moving the “substantial completion” date from Oct. 1 to Oct. 16, Slown said.

“Everything may not be done on the project by that date, but we are all working toward that goal,” Slown said.

The council’s third action was to approve the removal from the project of a portion of Second Street near the U.S. Post Office due to a large brick storm sewer, Slown said.

“It’s probably in very bad shape, so we are going to hold off on doing this for now to determine if we can do it later,” Slown said. “(The goal would be) to properly redo the storm sewer all the way down to the storm drain on Cleveland (Avenue). So we decided that we are going to pull this portion of Second Street out of the project temporarily to see if we can get additional funding.”

Slown said any specific questions or concerns about ongoing construction or the timeline for future stages of the project can be directed to the Department of Public Works by calling 906-485-5415. Any questions about overall project cost or other concerns can be directed to city hall at 906-485-1091.