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Grand Ave. phase 2 construction bid approved

Alex Doty • Feb 25, 2017 at 12:00 PM

The city is ready to forge ahead with the second phase of its two-year Grand Avenue reconstruction project.

City Council approved a $1.9 million bid from Jackson-Merkey Contractors during a special meeting on Thursday afternoon.

Funding for the project — which stretches from Doris Avenue to Sheldon Road — is coming from the city’s infrastructure bond proceeds and the state.

City Manager Pat McGinnis said work on the project will start at the beginning of April.

“You will start seeing trees being cut in the next few weeks,” he said.

City officials had recently shared concerns over whether the second phase of the project would start on time after a funding issue from the Michigan Department of Transportation occurred. McGinnis said MDOT was to chip in $368,000 from its Transportation Improvement Program. 

“We’ve been waiting for this funding for four years,” the city manager said.

As a result of the T.I.P. program money, it was originally planned that MDOT would’ve bid and managed the second phase of the project.

“We had our funding obligated and authorized, and they didn’t obligate the funds last fall,” McGinnis said. “MDOT kind of cut us off at the knees.”

Left in the lerch, city leaders reached out to state Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, to see if he could help restore the state funding. McGinnis said Meekhof’s office came through.

“We’re grateful our state senator was able to cut through the red tape,” McGinnis said.

This new source of state funding opens the door for the city to have complete oversight of the work and eliminates the need for requirements such as prevailing wage laws, McGinnis added.

“We can manage the project locally (and) respond to residents’ requests immediately,” he said.

Jackson-Merkey’s pricing for phase 2 is nearly 9 percent below the engineer's estimate.

Jackson-Merkey completed the first phase of the project in 2016, and city leaders say the company is familiar with the conditions and challenges of Grand Avenue.

The city’s engineering firm, Abonmarche, noted that the bid “represents good value from a contractor who has demonstrated a commitment to maintaining both project schedule and public relations.”

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