BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Iron Mountain OKs paving

By LINDA LOBECK

Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN – A cost-sharing agreement with the Dickinson County Road Commission was approved by Iron Mountain City Council Monday night for the repaving of Hydraulic Falls Road/Powder Lake Road.

The two government entities are working together under an arrangement that is similar to what was signed for the repaving project on Lake Antoine Road, said City Manager Jordan Stanchina.

The cost sharing is to cover the 20 percent match that must come from local funds that the city and DCRC will share. The rest of the funding – 80 percent- comes from the Michigan Department of Transportation Small Urban Program.

The repaving project will be on Hydraulic Falls Road from the railroad tracks south to Breitung Cutoff Road.

The city of Iron Mountain’s match is estimated to be $29,743.30 with $11,440 going for engineering and $18,303.30 for construction.

“The agreement is similar to the one signed by both parties for Lake Antoine Road and details each party’s responsibility,” Stanchina told the council. The city attorney had reviewed the agreement prior to council approval.

As noted in the agreement, Powder Lake Road is “utilized extensively by the public, including large tractor trailers and over the years, the road has deteriorated significantly.”

On this road, the city of Iron Mountain is responsible for the part from the U.S. 2 intersection going south to the city limits. And the DCRC extends its jurisdiction over the remainder of the alignment from Iron Mountain city limits south to Breitung Cutoff Road.

The purpose behind both parties signing the agreement was the desire to have the road repaired and improved so that it can withstand truck traffic through all seasons without restrictions.

The total project will cost an estimated $225,438 with Small Urban Grant funding at $180,350.40 and the total local match of $45,087.60.

With this agreement, the DCRC is the lead agency and with an inhouse engineer will be providing the engineering services. The bid letting for the project goes through the MDOT. The project is expected to be completed this year.

Mayor Bruce Rosen noted that the city is getting “tremendous value for what money they are providing for this project.”

Councilman Bill Revord asked how the issue between MDOT and Payne & Dolan on the Lake Antoine Road project concerning the concrete mix affects the city.

Stanchina said that the effect is that the road hasn’t gotten done.

“It could affect us down the road if it’s not resolved,” he said.

He added that the state is still fighting with the contractor over the mix being used. Payne & Dolan says the mix is OK and the state disagrees.

“It’s contingent on the percent of recycled asphalt shingles that can be in the mix used for repaving the road. The Road Commission has been aggressive in trying to get it resolved,” Stanchina said.

At Monday’s meeting, the council also approved introducing a trailer ordinance and setting a public hearing for Monday, March 17, at 6:30 p.m.

Since the previous meeting, Stanchina said that the city attorney has made some changes that he felt were appropriate.

“The most important part of the ordinance was prohibiting the storage or parking of recreational vehicles and trailers in city rights-of-ways and clear vision areas.That remains intact, but he did make a number of changes which include allowing front-yard storage or parking as long as it doesn’t encroach on right-of-way or clear vision areas.

The ordinance came about last fall as the result of the Planning Commission and city council discussing proposals on establishing an ordinance regulating the storage/parking of trailers and recreational vehicles.

There had been a number of complaints regarding trailers and recreational vehicles parked for extended periods on public right of ways and front yards. Stanchina said that the decision not to introduce the ordinance in the falls was made because he felt it was more appropriate to act on during the winter months and give residents adequate time to develop alternate plans for parking trailers and recreational vehicles during the summer months.

“This is a good start to dealing with the issues of RVs and trailers parked in the roadway and the safety issues that presents,” Stanchina said.

During public comment time, Virginia Feleppa of 1136 Crystal Lake Blvd., addressed the council on the commendable job that the DPW department had done for snow removal as well as thawing out frozen lines. She noted how well they responded to people under difficult circumstances.

Feleppa also questioned the council as to how well prepared the infrastructure in the city is and how prepared they are to deal with the damage from the frozen lines.

“The public should know how the city will prioritize the repairs. With this experience, you need to take a long look at the emergency preparedness plan for drinking water distribution,” she said.

Feleppa added that this also raised the idea of an alert siren to warn people of a public safety issue. She also asked if the fire department is kept up-to-date on what hydrants and water lines are available to be connected to in case of a fire so they don’t waste time trying to find one.

Stanchina reported that at the current time, there is only one frozen line. He added that the fire department is notified right away when there is a frozen line and where it’s located. It’s something that they can prevent from happening with 450 hydrants in the city. But the fire department is notified first and keeps track of where there are problems.

“If this was just us, I’d say there were problems with the infrastructure. But the frost level at where it’s been this year – it’s exceeded the standards of where you put your mains – even the brand new ones that froze, too,” Stanchina said.

Water service freeze-ups continued as part of Stanchina’s report to the council. He noted that two weeks ago, the city was receiving 10-15 calls a day for water service freeze ups and the wait for residential customers to be thawed was 3-4 days.

“At the start of this week (Feb. 24), we had a noticeable drop in calls and are now able to thaw lines the same day as reported. The list of businesses is also considerably shorter and we are very close to eliminating the backlog of businesses that were out of water for an extended period. Since the last meeting, we initiated a number of preventative ‘let runs’ based on a review and analysis of our system, which most likely aided in preventing additional freeze ups,” Stanchina said.

To date, he told the council they have thawed approximately 224 lines and have placed an additional 122 customers on ‘let-runs.’

“We were not able to thaw approximately 17 customer lines and they are being fed water by a hose from their neighbor. The total let-runs for the city is approximately 500 customers or 14.2 percent of total customers,” Stanchina said. “The number only includes a customer that was thawed out once and doesn’t’ account for customers thawed out more than one. They have had some customers that were thawed anywhere from two to four times already.”

“Along with monitoring the current situation, we have discussed the potential for water main and service line breaks during the spring thaw,” he said. “The water department reviewed our inventory for repair parts and is getting the inventory restocked in anticipation of numerous breaks. “

Stanchina noted that there were 7-10 calls Friday for thawing lines and the turnaround time was the same day.

Linda Lobeck’s e-mail address is llobeck@ironmountaindailynews.com.