Flood-damaged road repair contracts awarded

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette A road closure is seen Tuesday on Old Mill Road. The road is one of 10 with impassable sections in the county.

RIPLEY — The Houghton County Road Commission is making progress on repairing road damage, although some work will remain for next year, said Kevin Harju, the county’s road engineer.

In the past week, the commission met with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The county has started design work on $15 million in repairs on primary roads in the Federal Aid System, which it is working on with FHWA and MDOT.

“All the design has been submitted to MDOT,” Harju said. “We’re in communication with them several times a day. We’re trying to get them to approve it, so we can send it out to bid.”

The bid process will only be five days, Harju said, which should enable work to start on them by the following week.

Houghton County submitted a funding request of $16 million in damages to FEMA, which covers the commission’s local roads. A representative from FEMA will be in Houghton County next Wednesday to inspect all 105 locations with reported damage, Harju said.

“We’ll look at the damage, and we’ll tell them what we proposed to do for a permanent fix,” he said. “They’ll either concur with that, or tell us why it’s not eligible for repair.”

The FEMA work will require a 25 percent local match, Harju said.

Bids on installation of the larger culverts on local roads were awarded at Monday’s Road Commission meeting:

•Bacco Construction will install the culvert on Pontiac Road for $105,054.

•Moyle Contracting will do the culverts on Cemetery Road ($89,704) and Cloverland Road ($56,267).

•Bill Siler Contracting will install culverts on Woodside Road ($54,070) and Lower Worham Road ($44,605).

UP Concrete Pipe should be nearing completion of the culverts that will be going in, Harju said. He will be reaching out to see what the delay is; some were supposed to be on site by Aug. 12.

“On average, those sites should be completed within 14 days after the pipe arrives,” he said.

Another $900,000 of damage was done by the July 12 floods. That was enough to trigger a state disaster designation but not a federal one.

TOMORROW: Find out which Houghton County road projects will be done this year, and which ones will wait until next year.