City lays out plan for Grand Ave. reconstruction

Alex Doty • Jan 21, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Details are starting to emerge regarding the timeline for the city’s planned Grand Avenue infrastructure reconstruction project.

”We want to get out ahead of this thing and start soliciting bids as soon as possible, letting us get into construction as soon as the weather breaks — with the objective of trying to get as much done before Coast Guard (Festival) as we can,“ said Daniel Dornbos, an engineer for Abonmarche, the engineering firm leading the project for the city.

Dornbos said work would be conducted in two phases: Phase 1 being Harbor Drive to Doris Avenue, and Phase 2 being Doris to Sheldon Road.

This plan allows construction crews to avoid the possibility of starting the second phase in the fall and running into problems caused by fall and winter weather.

”It’d give us the best opportunity to construct a high-quality job and the ability to do that in less construction time,“ Dornbos said. ”The end date will be pushed back, but the actual duration of construction will be shorter.“

The first phase from Harbor to Doris will be funded with city infrastructure bond construction proceeds. The second phase will be funded with bond proceeds and Michigan Department of Transportation T.I.P. (Transportation Improvement Program) monies.

The city will seek bids for construction of the first phase, as is done for any locally funded reconstruction project, and the segment is on track to start this spring.

”The caveat associated with that is, we’re always concerned with when is the weather going to break,“ Dornbos said. ”So, hopefully, El Nino kicks back up and gives us a nice, mild remainder of the winter, and lets us get a jump on things in the spring.“

The goal is to have paved surfaces and roads that cars can use in time for the Coast Guard Festival.

”We’re looking to get through a major part of construction in July and wrapping things up in August,“ Dornbos said.

Between both phases, the entire length of the Grand Avenue reconstruction project is about 4,215 feet.

A conceptual design project was kicked off as one project from Harbor Drive to Sheldon Road. This phase included boundary surveys, topographic surveys, soil borings and cores, review of existing as-built drawings, conceptual plans, preliminary cost projections, and implementation schedules.

”Currently, we’re looking at a construction cost estimate very close to what was submitted originally,“ Dornbos said. ”Between Phase 1 and Phase 2, (it’s) $3.58 million.“

In addition to new roads and sidewalks, the project will include a new water main, and improvements to storm and sanitary sewer systems.

”One of the things we talked about quite a bit during the design phase was stormwater,“ Dornbos said.

The project includes a cistern system to intercept water instead of letting all of the water flow to the lowest point in the road.

“At the time, we looked at some pumping and other ways of getting rid of the water, and it was significantly more costly,” he said.

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