Houghton Reviews the Parking Deck’s Demolition Summary Report Revealing 45 Years Worth of Salt Corrosion

The Lakeshore Drive corridor project in Houghton enters into its final phases today. Crews will begin paving the east lot and should finish in time for next Monday. MJO will stage some equipment in the west end lot while work is completed on the walkway for Pewabic Street. City Manager Eric Waara says that the finishing touches around the parking lots will be completed by October. “So that Monday morning that lot is essentially open for business in its final form. Of course, there will be some guardrails to install, plants to install, the lights, things like that. Those can happen hit-and-miss there. The west lot, MJO will be using portions of that west lot for staging, as they finish work on Pewabic Street” – Eric Waara, City Manager, Houghton During the demolition, the city asked U-P engineers to conduct a summary of findings from the phase. In the city’s initial discussions to bring down the deck a large concern was the corrosive nature salt has on steel. The deck’s form of construction relied heavily on steel cables within the concrete padding and for structural integrity. During the demolition, the engineering firm found many of the parking deck’s steel footings were severely damaged by 45 years of salt corrosion. Affirming the city’s decision to tear the parking deck down a step ahead of any possible disaster. “I guess this is a bit of validation. For all of the discussion and debate that took place. Like with the planning commission subcommittee, and in this chamber, about why we needed to take this down. I know a lot of people didn’t want to take it down.” – Eric Waara, City Manager, Houghton City Manager Eric Waara responded to rumblings from residents over the months about the parking deck demolition and desires to repair the structure for the ample parking it brought to the center of downtown. The summary from UPEA shows why the demolition company needed to install a series of temporary supports for the phase. Moreover city manager had discussed the project midway through with the demolition supervisor, who commented the project would have been easier to accomplish ten years ago. “I’m not saying it was going to fall tomorrow, but that’s called borrowed time. And again for all of those people that were, why don’t you just fix it? Well, you don’t find these things until you take it down. And if you read the report about just the structural members they had to install just to take it down. The connector, if they fail, and they start pulling on one part of the deck, the whole thing can come down. You know, it was time.” – Eric Waara, City Manager, Houghton A copy of the nine-page summary from UP engineers and architects has been posted on the city’s website. Find a link here. Photos of the H pile beam shown as an example are below.