March 22 • 08:42 AM

M-21 project inches along

Project fraught with unexpected problems, delays; adding to cost

Workers begin the resurfacing project on M-21 near Fairgrounds Road on Tuesday morning. The lengthy water main and road project has frustrated some motorists who need to travel M-21 for work or shopping. photo by Tom Wearing.

September 23, 2009
IMLAY CITY — While a water main improvement project along M-21 from Van Dyke to the city's western border has been completed, a second project to resurface the same section of roadway continues to hinder motorists in the area.

City Manager Amy Planck said the original project to increase the diameter and capacity of the water main was delayed by nearly three weeks, setting the current project back.

Planck said the second project, which includes milling and resurfacing the roadway, is running slightly ahead of schedule.

"The new project began on Sept. 9 and it's supposed to take 20 construction days to complete," said Planck. "We should be back to normal by the end of September."

The project to increase the water main's diameter to 12 inches was beset with problems, said James Bliskey, Engineering Group Manager for Huron Consultants of Port Huron. Those problems resulted in the delays and higher costs, he said.

Bliskey summed up the project's complications and more than $30,000 in cost overruns to city commissioners last Tuesday.

He noted that the project's contractor, Tyger Excavating, Inc. of New Haven, had to request change orders to cover crew and equipment downtime.

In a report to city commissioners, Bliskey said the delays and extra costs were due to: (1) the collapse of and repair to an abandoned culvert wall; (2) a main alignment change forced by the discovery of a gas line in the path of the proposed water main; (3) the installation of drainage structures at Main Street; and (4) additional water main and pavement work on Bancroft Street.

The requested change orders increased the original contract price by nearly $33,000 and three extra inspection days, Bliskey told commissioners.

With the accumulated change orders, the total contract price for the project rose to $521,613, which represents an increase of 7.28 percent above Tyger's original bid price.

Bliskey said having to realign the main was unexpected.

"It caught us flatfooted," Bliskey told commissioners, who later approved what is expected to be the final series of change orders.

A letter from Huron Consultants explained that the realignment required that the water main be located in the second eastbound (M-21) traffic lane, resulting in extra traffic controls and signage, saw-cutting of the pavement, pavement removal and pavement replacement. The cost of the additional work was nearly $10,000.

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