The plethora of potholes on Hillsdale’s roads may finally be addressed since Hillsdale’s Board of Public Utilities has recently been granted about $1.9 million from the Michigan Strategic Fund for an Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement. But in the Feb. 19 city council meeting, City Manager David Mackie is not confident this will be enough for the project that the city is pursuing.
With the new funds, the city and the BPU are looking to repair Garden Street, Vine Street, Meade Street, and Rippon Street. The construction bids that came in for the project last week, however, were much higher than Mackie and Public Service Department Director Jake Hammel were expecting, and now they are looking for more money in order to proceed with the planned repairs.
“These bids unfortunately came in substantially higher than the engineer’s construction estimate,” Hammel said in the Feb. 19 city council meeting. “Now we’re faced with the situation to either cut back the project, scale that back to get closer to the original budget in a couple different areas or ways, or consider the alternatives of coming up with a lot of additional funding.”
Mackie laid out how much the whole project would cost if the city goes ahead with it as planned.
“If we did the full project with a 5 percent contingency, and including the engineering costs, on top of the grant of almost $1.9 million, we would be looking at our share being about $1.2 million,” Mackie said in the city council meeting. “If you put that in budget terms, that’s about two years of what we’re working to set aside annually for road repair.”
Mackie said he believes that if the project were scaled back significantly, the city could still repair Meade Street, Garden Street, and Vine Street, but Rippon Street might be out of the question.
The repair for Rippon Street was the main focus of the whole project since the sewer lines running behind the road has caused flooding in the houses. The goal was to move the sewer lines from the behind the houses on Rippon Street to the front, in the road.
“Rippon Street, which was always the intention, was to do the project to the culvert from the north end, because there are sewer mains on the backs of those houses that when the creek rises, like the water now and they’re calling for flooding, the water backs up into the basements,” Mackie said.
Along with flooding in the houses on Rippon Street, the BPU recently has also been busy dealing with sewage backups in the manholes around the city. The BPU needs all the help it can get to keep sewage backups and floodings to a minimum around the city and getting the repairs on Rippon Street underway would help.
The BPU have been dealing with the backups as quickly as they can and trying to get them cleaned up.
“We do the best we can,” said Chris McArthur, interim director of Hillsdale BPU.