Houghton approves flood work contracts

HOUGHTON — The Houghton City Council unanimously approved contracts for repairs of damage on federal aid routes from the June 17 flood Wednesday.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) submitted both contracts.

The first is the design contract for initial response services and design of repairs for Sharon Avenue, Military Road, Garnet Avenue, Houghton and portions of Lakeshore Drive. MDOT will conduct the repairs, while the city is responsible for the 20 percent match for Federal Highway Administration funds. The city will pay $37,269, with federal aid accounting for $149,078.

“These contracts will be MDOT contracts — I believe some of them filled with local lets, so we’ll do them locally,” said City Manager Eric Waara. “But everything’s run through MDOT, so we can collect on our Federal Highway Administration dollars.”

The second contract covers actual construction work on Sharon Avenue, Dodge Street and Military Road. The roads were packaged together to be bid out. Previously planned to be bid out for this year, the work was pushed back to spring after the labor lockout involving the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association and Operating Engineers 324 union.

That work will also require a 20 percent match.

The city also approved applying for a State infrastructure Bank loan of up to $1.3 million. There is no interest attached to the loan.

“The county actually pulled one of these right away because they knew they didn’t have funds,” Waara said. “We managed to pay cash, but we spent a lot of the cash that we would be spending late next winter and early spring.”