Houghton approves summer paving list

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette A bumpy section of Gundlach Road will be among the paving projects tackled this summer. The Houghton City Council approved more than $1.3 million in projects at Wednesday’s meeting.

HOUGHTON — With spring technically here, Houghton is looking ahead to what roads will be paved this year.

The City Council approved a list of more than $1.3 million in paving projects for the year at Wednesday’s meeting.

“We didn’t do any major paving last year, looking at holding on to those dollars to do a bigger project this summer,” City Manager Eric Waara said.

The project includes a couple of deductible alternates. Oak Ridge Lane and sections of Jacker Street need about $100,000 each of work. They will be included in the bid, but scaled back if they don’t fit the budget.

A proposed $1.38 million in funds will be divided between major street ($927,000), local street ($203,000) and Tax increment Finance Authority ($250,000).

Houghton’s Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) score for 2021 showed 38% of streets in good condition — ranking an 8 or above on the 10-point scale. Fair roads (5-7) accounted for 17%, while poor (3-4) made up 29%. The remaining 16% were scored 1 or 2, meaning very poor.

Houghton paving projects:

• West Sharon Ave. (Baptist Church to M-26) — $216,000

• Century Way (south of Sharon Ave.) — $30,000

• Razorback Dr. (from M-26 to Cedar St.) — $186,000

• Lakeshore Dr. (from Lakeshore Circle east to previous work) — $250,000

• Bridge St. (south of Shelden Ave.) — $19,000

• Isle Royale (between Montezuma and Shelden Ave.) — $134,000

• Gundlach Rd. (from Sharon Ave. to BF Gaffney Dr.) — $308,000

• Garnet St. (two sections south of Seventh Ave.) — $113,000

• Woodland Rd. (east of Maclnnes Dr.) — $34,000

• First St. (from Woodland to US-41) — $26,000

In other action, the council:

• Heard from Waara that Houghton County Circuit Court Charles Goodman dismissed Edward Cole’s suit against the city for approving the abandonment of an easement on the sidewalk next to 326 Shelden Ave. The court also recently upheld the city planning commission’s approval of the site plan for the proposed development. Cole can still appeal the rulings. Waara said the city’s attorney has billed about $25,000 so far between the two lawsuits.

• Heard from Waara on the timeline of the Lakeshore Drive deck removal. Bids are scheduled to be opened April 11. Teardown will start sometime after universities’ spring commencement. The east side of the deck will come down first; once it has been demolished, work will start on the west side.

Estimates vary for how long it will take. Different contractors estimated the project at four to six weeks, or 12 to 16.

Once the deck comes down, the city will convert the area to surface parking, along with features such as rain gardens and sidewalks. That work will be finished sometime this fall, Waara said.

• Set dates for the city’s budget work sessions. They will be held April 19, May 3 and May 17.

• Approved a proclamation designating May 2023 as Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month. The genetic disorder causes tumors to grow along a person’s nervous system.

Cheryl Kiley, whose son Brandon has the condition, found the proclamation at the Children’s Tumor Foundation (ctf.org), which is raising funds for research. Of those funds, 84% of donations have gone towards research and education, which is a good percentage for charities, Councilor Craig Waddell said.

“Someday in Brandon’s lifetime, there will be a cure, but it’s just not yet,” Kiley said. “So more funding, more research, more awareness.”

• Reappointed Jennifer Donovan and appointed Douglas Patrick to four-year terms on the Portage Lake District Library board.

• Approved a resolution decertifying two sections of street where through streets no longer exist. The sections — 130 feet on Huron Street and 175 on Isle Royale Street — bookend the parking lot the city shares with Grace United Methodist Church between Montezuma and Houghton avenues. The city certifies street lengths each year for the Michigan Department of Transportation, which uses them to determine Act 51 road funding.


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