Ionia Getting A StreetLift

May 19, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — Getting around the Central Business District will be a bit harder this summer when a main downtown street goes under the sledgehammer.

Reconstruction work is planned for

Ionia Avenue
, a major northbound artery, between Michigan and Lyon streets. Crescent Street, from Ionia to Division avenues, will also be re-done. The work is scheduled to begin after Festival 2006, in early June. In preparation for the city’s work on Ionia, Consumers Energy and SBC have been reconstructing their facilities there this month.

The street work will include rebuilding the streets and curbs, gutters, catch basins and sidewalks. New trees will be planted and landscaping will be done. Fiber optic lines will be relocated, and water mains and sewers will be replaced. New street lighting will also be added.

Dykema Excavators Inc. is managing the project, as the firm submitted the accepted bid of $1.86 million — $300,000 under the city estimate for the work. But Dykema left out the cost of waterproofing the areaway walls and controlling soil erosion in its bid.

“Dykema has indicated a willingness to do these items per the plans and specifications at no cost. Staff has reviewed this matter with the City Attorney’s office, resulting in a determination that this omission is a technicality and can be waived by the city,” said Bill Cole, city engineer.

Four other contractors bid on the project.

The total cost for the work can’t exceed $2.66 million, which includes engineering, testing and administrative charges above the construction contract with Dykema.

Money to pay for the project will come from the city water system fund ($451,000), the city sewer system fund ($416,000), the city street fund ($122,000) and the Downtown Development Authority ($1.67 million).

Cole also reported that the city is looking into rehabbing the WealthyStreetBridge, which crosses the Grand River and connects the east and west sides of the city just south of downtown.

Cole told commissioners that the bridge’s deck is deteriorating, as the latex overlay is coming apart, and he got their approval to apply again for a Michigan Department of Transportation grant to replace the deck.

“A grant application was previously sent in for the WealthyStreetBridge, but it was not eligible for funding at that time,” said Cole, who added that getting the grant isn’t a sure thing.

“The grant is a good one. The grant would pay for $1.2 million of the work,” he added.

Cole said it would cost about $1.65 million to replace the deck, which hasn’t been replaced since at least 1970. The city should know by November whether it will get the MDOT grant. If it does, the bridge work would start next summer.    

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