HOUGHTON COUNTY — With over 30 million dollars in road damage caused by the Father’s day Flood in Houghton County, the road commission is doing all it can to complete as many repairs as possible before winter, but won’t be able to get them all done this year.
Some of the delays include the amount of time it takes to build the necessary structures, and the red tape involved in getting proper funding.
One at a time the roadways of Houghton County are reopening with a smooth blacktop, but some motorist are still asking… “Whats taking so long?”
It’s important for motorists to understand just how much damage was created in that few short hours in June, and how much money it will take to rebuild those roads. One road that is in the works is Canal road in Houghton that crews will be making some progress on very soon.
“The design work is pretty much done. It’s been submitted to Lansing for MDOT’s review. We’re hoping to be able to put out a bed lining within the next week or so. Completion will probably be hopefully mid to late October. It might stretch into November at this point,” said Houghton County Road Commission Engineer Kevin Harju.
One of the issues at hand is funding.
“There’s three different funding sources that were dealing with,” said Harju. “On our primary roads, those are typically our federal aid roads and we are working directly with federal highway administration and with MDOT on those and those have been moving along here for several weeks already. We do have final plans for a lot of those bigger fixes on the federal aid roads. It’s now a matter of getting approval through MDOT after they review the plans that are submitted.”
Some of the funding has been approved, but the actual monies will not become available until late in the winter season, leaving the road commission searching for gap funding to be able to continue it’s progress.
“As the construction progresses, the road commission will be responsible for 100 percent of financing that and then get reimbursed in February,” said Harju. “However, were looking at additional avenues to be able to due that in the tune of about 10 million dollars. So that’s a work in progress but were still moving ahead with the construction, and then will figure out a way on how we’re going to fund it until February.”
Another delay is that each culvert is custom built and takes 30 days to construct once the plans have been submitted, which means that additional laborers will be assisting in the projects.
“We’ll be chasing snow flakes trying to get some of these structures in unfortunately but they are in the process, they’re steadily coming in. As more projects develop we’ll be utilizing a lot of local contractors and contract from out of the area too have been bidding on these projects also,” said Harju.
Although repair work will carry over into the spring, Harju says he is utilizing every resource available to complete as much as possible before winter.