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Deck partially closed due to damage

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette - The north barrier wall on the east side of the large parking deck on Lakeshore Avenue is blocked off. An engineering study found $1.8 million in damage to the deck, believed to have opened in 1978.

HOUGHTON — Parking consultants found $1.8 million in immediate deficiencies of Houghton’s parking deck recommended for repairs in a study commissioned by the city.

Pierce Engineers prepared the study for the city and the Veridea Group of Marquette, which is in negotiating with the city to purchase the area covered by the large parking deck between Huron and Quincy streets.

The deck is believed to have been opened to parking in the winter of 1978. According to the report, similar decks typically have a 40- to 50-year shelf life.

The report found two immediate issues. Because of corrosion on the floor pans and stairs, the east stair tower has been closed until repairs can be performed.

The north barrier wall on the east deck was found to have severe structural problems due to water infiltration and damage from freezing and thawing. If not fixed, portions of the wall could fall on pedestrians below, the report found. It has since been closed off to parking.

Other issues found included a worn traffic membrane, cracks and expansion joints in need of replacement.

“A lot of those things we had just fixed about five years ago,” City Manager Eric Waara said at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Between 2012 to 2014, about $1.1 million of repair work was conducted on the deck.

Pierce offered to perform a second phase of the report that would include more detailed materials investigation and digging to the foundations of the piers. It would cost about $43,000.

“Given the age of the deck right now, we’re going to have to start making some decisions before too long which way we’re going to go with this,” Waara said.

Council members decided to hold off on more testing until Veridea develops a final plan for its development.

“The deck is costing us more and more each year,” said Councilor Daniel Salo. “…I think we’re throwing money at this thing that we’re not going to get a return on.”

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