PAC Recommends Change to Argo Project

At its Aug. 16, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor park advisory commission recommended amending the project scope with TSP Environmental for work on the Argo dam headrace.  [.pdf of staff memo and resolution]

The Livonia firm had been hired last year to build a bypass channel in the headrace for $988,170 and to add whitewater features for an additional $180,000. However, DTE is now offering to pay for the whitewater feature of the Argo dam project, if the city agrees to hold off on construction of that piece until after DTE completes remediation on its nearby property, as required by the state.

By having DTE pay for the work, the city is expected to save $163,636. The resolution approved at Tuesday’s PAC meeting – which will now be forwarded to the city council – recommends using some of these funds to improve the entrance to the headrace. That work had not previously been part of the project’s scope.

According to a staff memo, the headrace work would likely include modifying the entry into the headrace by removing the top of the culvert, adding grouted limestone to widen the approach, building new concrete abutments, and installing an arched prefabricated steel clear span bridge with concrete deck. The work is expected to cost about $85,000.

The overall Argo dam project, as previously approved, calls for removing the canoe portage and replacing it with a series of “drop pools” so that no portage is required. The project would also improve accessibility of the path – which is part of the county’s Border-to-Border trail – and address problems in the headrace embankment.

The work is tied to a consent agreement that the city reached with the state in May 2010, laying out steps that the city must take to deal with some of long-outstanding structural issues with the earthen embankment. TSP Environmental had been selected by the city council at its Nov. 15, 2010 meeting following a recommendation by PAC in October 2010.

Brian Steglitz, the city’s project manager for the Argo reconstruction, told PAC that the city expects to receive a permit from the state on Aug. 23, after which major work will begin on the project.

A July 25 memo from city staff reported that the city had been notified by DTE officials of upcoming remediation work that DTE plans to do in 2012 adjacent to DTE’s property on the south side of the Huron River, between Allen Creek Drain and the Broadway Bridge. The remediation is being required by the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality.

This brief was filed from PAC’s meeting in the second floor council chambers at city hall, 301 E. Huron St. A more detailed report will follow: [link]