Published August 5, 2014
Officials work to move up Coolidge construction to 2015
By Joshua Gordon firstname.lastname@example.org
BERKLEY — Thanks to an advanced-construction option from the Oakland County Federal Aid Committee, work to repair Coolidge Highway north of 12 Mile Road tentatively is scheduled to begin next spring instead of waiting until 2016.
Berkley city officials were notified that the city would receive federal grant money covering approximately half the cost of the Coolidge construction project, but the money would not be available until the 2016 fiscal year.
Because of the deteriorating conditions of the road, city officials decided to front all the costs of the project to complete it next year and receive the federal grant reimbursement in 2016. As part of the advanced-construction option, the city also has to adhere to the Michigan Department of Transportation construction schedule.
“We have received a federal grant for this project for approximately half the cost, but unfortunately, this is 2016 MDOT funds, so we pushed to get this project going sooner than 2016,” Department of Public Works Director Derrick Schueller said. “So we are pursuing the advanced-construct alternative, which essentially means we front the money for the entire project and the feds reimburse the money during the fiscal MDOT year of 2016.”
Moving forward with trying to get the construction started next spring, City Council approved a $40,000 design services agreement with Hubbell, Roth & Clark July 21 to design the engineering plan that would see soil borings, a topographic survey, and milling and overlaying between 12 Mile and Webster roads.
HRC Executive Vice President Tom Biehl said the project would consist of milling down 4-5 inches and putting back the same amount. In the proposed section, however, he said the curbs appear to be in good shape.
“As you know, we did a road rating of the roads in the city of Berkley, and to get a handle on where Coolidge falls, it is in the poor category, and I don’t think anybody is surprised by that,” Biehl said to council. “The county has a strict schedule, and we would need to have a grade inspection with the county and submit our plans to meet their requirements and bid on their schedule.”
Biehl said he expects the project to be approved in February with the project being able to commence as early as March 2015. However, he said, realistically, the project would most likely get going sometime April 1-10.
The initial plan is to do one side of Coolidge, forcing all traffic to either the north or southbound lanes, and then flip to the other side. The project range is anticipated to be 12-16 weeks.
With doing about 5 inches, Biehl said the construction project should last about 15 years as long as joint cracks are sealed periodically during that time.
Schueller said the city would be looking to go out to bid for the project in the winter to adhere to the MDOT schedule. According to proposed project costs by HRC, the total budget for the project would fall just under $800,000, with federal funding covering just more than $400,000 of it and the city paying just less than $400,000.
Councilman Dan Terbrack said the city has been trying to secure federal funding to help resurface Coolidge for several years and that with federal funding finally secured, it makes sense for the city to get the project done as soon as possible.
“We have been trying to do this for a long time, and we take our roads and road conditions seriously here and want to maintain our roads,” he said. “It is not like we ignored it to the point where it is in bad shape and now we need to fix it. With it on the (MDOT) 2016 calendar, that is still a year and a half away, so we will front the bill because this is something very important to us and a very serious issue.”
With the city now knowing when federal funding will be available, Councilman Steve Baker said it is important to improve Coolidge.
“One of the things folks see first when they enter the city, they see the signs, but the next is they feel the roads they are driving on,” he said. “Going southbound on Coolidge, you can’t help seeing the ‘Welcome to Berkley,’ sign, but then you start (bouncing) around. We are finally at a point we can talk about engineering.”