Council Acts on Infrastructure Items

The Ann Arbor city council’s July 21, 2014 meeting featured action on a raft of infrastructure items – from street and sidewalk construction and bridge inspections to the purchase of pumps for the wastewater treatment facility.

The council approved a $1,537,608 construction contract with Bailey Excavating Inc. for the Springwater subdivision improvements project. That work will cover the reconstruction of streets and some utilities – on Butternut Street from Cardinal Avenue to Springbrook Avenue, and Nordman Avenue from Packard Road to Redwood Avenue.

Funding for the project will be drawn from the street millage fund ($883,316), stormwater fund ($903,065), and drinking water funds ($489,574) for a total project cost of $2,275,955.

Funding from the drinking water and stormwater funds is based on the fact that the project includes replacing the existing water main and performing stormwater system improvements – including construction of sand filters within the Butternut Street and Nordman Avenue right-of-way. Construction is expected to start in August 2014 with completion expected this fall.

The council also approved a $3,445,200 agreement with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) for the Stone School Road improvements project – between I-94 and Ellsworth Road. The planned work consists of reconstructing Stone School Road as a two-lane road with on-street bike lanes and concrete curb and gutter.

A new 5-foot-wide concrete sidewalk will be constructed on the west side of the roadway from Pheasant Run Circle to Ellsworth Road. Included in the project is the replacement of the existing 16-inch water main in Stone School Road. The water main has broken several times. A short segment of 8-inch sanitary sewer is included in the project. Bioswales and “in-line” stormwater detention will be included. An existing jack-arch culvert under Old Stone School Road along Malletts Creek will be removed, in order to improve creek hydraulics, habitat and stormwater quality. New street lights along Stone School Road will also be installed.

The council also approved an agreement with MDOT, which will require about $250,000 of local funding. It will establish the city as construction manager for the construction of sidewalks on the south side of Scio Church Road between Delaware Drive and Maple Road, and on the south side of Barton Drive from about 250 feet west of Chandler Road to Longshore Drive. A portion of the funding for both projects will be derived from a special assessment of adjoining property owners.

Here’s how the funding breaks down:

Project Funding
               Scio Church    Barton       TOTAL
Federal Share     $164,000   $36,000    $200,000
Local Share        199,474    42,626     242,100
Spcl Assess          1,626     1,980       3,606            

TOTAL             $365,100   $80,606    $445,706


In other action taken at its July 21 meeting, the council was set to give final approval of the assessment roll for the construction of a new sidewalk on Pontiac Trail, after a public hearing. But the council postponed the item until its next meeting, to allow for one of the property owners to protest. The total cost that would be assessed to adjoining property owners is $72,218.

According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, sidewalk construction would be done as part of the reconstruction of Pontiac Trail beginning just north of Skydale Drive to just south of the bridge over M-14. The project will also be adding on-street bike lanes and constructing a new sidewalk along the east side of Pontiac Trail to fill in existing sidewalk gaps and to provide pedestrian access to Olson Park and Dhu Varren Road. That’s part of the city’s Complete Streets program.

In addition to the sidewalk, approximately 1,960 feet of curb and gutter is being added north of Skydale along Pontiac Trail to protect existing wetland areas. [.pdf of Pontiac Trail sidewalk special assessment area]

Also at its July 21 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved a $104,107 contract with DLZ Michigan Inc. for the regular bridge inspection program. The city is required by federal law to inspect its bridges every two years. The city’s approach is to inspect about half of its bridges each year in order to even out the cost.

Bridges to be inspected include the section of the Library Lane parking structure that is located under Fifth Avenue, which is considered a bridge.

According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, the following bridges will be inspected in 2014: Island Drive over the Traver Creek; Maiden Lane over the Huron River; Fuller Road (eastbound and westbound) over the Huron River; Huron Parkway over the Huron River, Norfolk Southern Railroad and Geddes Avenue; and Wastewater Treatment Plant Drive over the Huron River.

And in 2015, the following bridges will be inspected: Broadway over the Huron River; Broadway over Depot Street and the Norfolk Southern Railroad; E. Stadium Boulevard bridge over S. State Street; E. Stadium Boulevard bridge over the Ann Arbor Railroad tracks; Fuller Road over the Norfolk Southern Railroad; East Medical Center Drive over the Norfolk Southern Railroad; Eisenhower Parkway over the Ann Arbor Railroad; the portion of the Fifth Avenue parking structure under South Fifth Avenue; and the University of Michigan tunnel under Huron Parkway.

Funding will come from the major street fund ($133,500) and the sewage disposal fund ($2,500). The University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority will reimburse the city for about $6,600 for inspections related to facilities they maintain.

And finally, the purchase of six new pumps for the wastewater treatment plant – from Premier Pump Inc. for $425,682 – was also given approval during the city council’s July 21 meeting.

According to the staff memo accompanying the agenda item, the city’s wastewater treatment plant has six 150-horsepower secondary effluent pumps that are about 35 years old. When the plant is operating in typical mode, two of the six pumps are in continuous operation. Occasionally, when the Huron River is at high levels, additional pumps are used to pump secondary effluent simultaneously to the sand filters and the river.

Over the past three years, three of the pumps have failed. One of the pumps was irreparable, and the other two pumps were repaired but are not reliable for long-term use. The remaining three pumps are fully functional, but in a worn condition.

Failure of the secondary effluent pumps was unforeseen, according to the staff memo, so the cost of their replacement was not included in the design of the Facilities Renovations Project (FRP) currently under construction at the wastewater treatment plant. The city’s attempt to include replacement of the pumps in the FRP and to receive funding through the state’s revolving fund loan program was rejected by the Michigan Depart. of Environmental Quality, according to the staff memo.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron.