Was the new road commission building poorly constructed?

HOUGHTON — The Houghton County Road Commissioner is responding to accusations that their new building was poorly constructed. ABC 10’s Reporter Rick Allen has the story.

The new Houghton County Road Commission offices and garage building is only a few months old…but it continues to be a source of controversy.

A group referring to themselves as simply “concerned citizen taxpayers” have leveled several charges against the Road Commission and the building’s principle contractor, Moyle Construction.

Those accusations range from improper grading to cracked concrete to moldy drywall. Those are not assessments shared by the County Road Commissioner.

Houghton County Road Commissioner Kevin Harju said, “We’ve had the Building Inspector here through the whole process of the building. Myself, I’m a licensed engineer in the state of Michigan. My assistant is a licensed engineer in the state of Michigan. I’ve had several other road commissions come and look and we haven’t seen any of these flaws that they’re indicating and we’ve been in the building for quite a long time now.”

The old garage in South Range collapsed in 2013 under the weight of snow and the Road Commission was able to secure nearly $1 million of the $1.4 million cost of the new building through their insurance.

They then considered bids from multiple companies.

Harju said, “We went through what they call a Design Build Contract and we had a lot of very good, local contractors and engineering cooperatives that submitted proposals and the building that we used was Moyle Construction and they did a very good job. Any of the four applicants that gave us proposals, I’m sure, would have done a super job using all local contractors.”

The new facility is bigger, brighter and more modern, and since the Road Commission plans to sell off some of the property they no longer need, they will recoup the money they spent on building it.

A representative of the group of “concerned citizen taxpayers” did not respond to a request to be interviewed.