Negaunee sewer line replacement project nearing halfway point

NEGAUNEE — If you’ve driven through the city of Negaunee lately, then you’ve probably noticed a couple of construction projects happening around town, which are a part of the city’s Moving Forward Campaign.

One of the largest projects to happen in the city in a long time is the replacement of a sewer line under Brown Avenue between Cherry Street and Main Street, which collects over half of the sewage in the city. It was estimated that sections of that particular sewer line were at least 50 years old, and it was in danger of complete failure.

“Last year, while we were doing some investigating on the roadway in preparation to repave that street, we found that a line had collapsed, a portion of it,” said city manager Nate Heffron. “We did an emergency dig to fix that, and then we decided as a group to invest some money into that project to make sure that that sewer line would not fail. So we definitely wanted to make sure that we took care of that. We didn’t want to upset folks when their toilets and sewer lines weren’t working because we didn’t take the appropriate action.”

The project started a little under a month ago, and while it is not quite to the halfway point yet, the project has not had any major setbacks or problems. The cost of the project on Brown Avenue is roughly $600,000, and the city obtained an Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development grant of $100,000 to help offset those costs.

“We did everything we could to get grants for this project, but given the nature of the beast, we had to move quickly,” said Heffron. “We certainly didn’t want the sewer to fail and cause a catastrophe that could’ve been avoided. So we took all the appropriate measures that we could, and we were fortunate enough to couple some grants with these projects.”

Another project that just wrapped up was a water main replacement on Peck Street between Pioneer Avenue and Kanter Street, which also oversaw the replacement of the sidewalk on the north side of the road. Repaving of the roads will begin once the Brown Avenue sewer line project is complete, thanks to a small Michigan Department of Transportation urban pavement grant of $375,000.

“What we’ll be doing here afterwards, with the project now being complete, is use another grant to pave the roads and this street way over here, in the next couple of months,” Heffron said. “We’re hoping that will come through very soon.”

That’s when they’ll add some finishing touches to the roads such as new street lights along Brown Avenue, redoing the intersection of Mitchell Avenue and Brown, and there is a proposed updating of the train crossing on Baldwin Avenue.

Similar investments into the infrastructure of the city are expected to continue over the next several years, and ABC10 will continue to follow those stories as they become available.