North Mill Street may be torn up and repaved this year

By Ralph Echtinaw

The city is getting closer to re-paving North Mill Street from M-46 to just south of the bridge.

The plan is to grind off the existing asphalt and replace it with three inches of new asphalt. The estimated cost is $200,000, but bids have yet to be solicited.

“I am hoping to put the contract together next week and send it out,” said DPW Superintendent Mark Abbott via email. At least three contractors will be asked to bid on the job.

Abbott estimates that the project could potentially be done in five to eight days if all goes well.

Ideally, the city would do a total reconstruction of North Mill, replacing water and storm sewer lines in addition to asphalt. But other pressing road projects will consume available funds through 2028, said City Manager Kurt Giles, and North Mill won’t last that long.

The road “is coming apart now,” said Abbott. “The guys are cold patching it as much as they’re able. It’s just time.”

The downside of repaving North Mill without replacing storm sewer and water lines is that future problems below will necessitate tearing up pavement in spots to conduct repairs.

“We run the risk of having to do underground repairs in areas with newer pavement but see that as reasonable considering how the existing pavement has deteriorated,” Giles said via email.

Abbott said he will use the old asphalt “for other road maintenance, i.e. gravel roads and shoulders. This saves us about half the cost of purchasing the material from other sources.”

The usual re-striping of the road, normally done in May, will be put off until after paving, said Abbott.

Pool house project

Although the W. T. Morris pool house remodeling project will likely NOT interfere with the pool opening in June, the cost is already $45,000 more than originally estimated.

Giles said the project will now come in at around $145,000. About $100,000 of that is covered by a Gratiot Community Foundation grant and donations, Giles said.

Pool House-4

A Freed Construction worker grinds a pool house window frame a few weeks ago.

Cost overruns are “mostly a result of refining the scope of what is needed,” Giles said. “A couple of minor items were not anticipated until there was consultation with inspectors, and I believe construction costs have generally been rising.”

Plus, as Giles told council Tuesday, “It’s been 60 plus years of doing very little in that building.”

Council approved payment of $13,222 Tuesday to Mann’s Painting of Alma to resurface the pool house floor. The work will likely occur the week of May 6.

Mann’s invoice says it will grind the floor, fill joints and holes and “install a Spartacote epoxy chip floor system.”

Other work on the pool house is being done by Freed Construction.

North Main Street Bridge

After two rejected grant requests, city officials have given up for now on getting the Michigan Department of Transportation to replace the North Main Street bridge over the Pine River.

“We’ve learned that they are not that concerned with funding our bridge replacement in the near future because it’s in pretty good condition and it’s posted,” Giles said. “So it’s not exactly an emergency from their perspective.”

This is partly due to city officials being proactive over the years in paying for bridge repairs out of pocket.

The city resurfaced the bridge deck in 2005 and improved the guard rails in 2013-14.

Council approved payment of $4,000 to the Spicer Group, a Saginaw civil engineering firm, to write a grant request for preventative maintenance on the bridge. If approved, the grant would be for MDOT’s 2022 fiscal year.

Crack seal

Council approved spending $9,220 to seal large cracks in pavement of Olive Road from Hebron Street to Corinth Street, Michigan Avenue from the viaduct to M-46 and Hubbard Street from M-46 to Giddings Place.

This work will be done by DPW staff, blowing out cracks, heating the cracks and filling them with sealer using machinery on loan from National Highway Maintenance Systems of Peninsula, Ohio.

“We are hoping to have enough material for this work,” Abbott said via email. “But if we fall short we have budgeted for more material in the 2019-20 budget for major streets to continue this maintenance activity.”

In the next fiscal year, Abbott hopes to repave the crack-sealed roads, which would give them another seven years of useful life.


Council members Jerry Church, George Kubin and Mayor James Kelly were present. Council member Tom Reed and Mayor Pro Tem Melissa Allen were absent.


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