At an open house Wednesday evening to give information on this summer’s street construction – especially the city’s bond-program-funded work in the Number Streets – residents heard tips from paving contractors and had a chance to ask questions about the process.
The session, in the Van Gilder Room of the Fenton Community Center, began with comments from City manager Lynn Markland and Department of Public Works Director Dan Brisson.
“We’re really excited to do these types of projects,” Markland said. This is the first time we’ve had the resources to do more projects in the city, especially in our neighborhoods.”
The work on First, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, N. Oak, Thurber and N. Howard Streets will begin with staging and equipment as early as the week of June 27. Critical sewer repairs on Walnut Street near Second Street and sewer repairs are included. Several existing combined sewers will be brought up to standard, and manholes and storm drains will be repaired. Sidewalk-at-street intersections will be updated to meet current standards. Replacement street signs and pavement markings are included in the project.
The project is projected to be substantially complete by Nov. 15. Depending on weather, final grading and lawn restoration could take place in the spring of 2023.
Advice from city administrators and contractors
Information: On-site managers will always be available, but the city, planners and contractors will have twice-weekly meetings. Significant updates will be communicated on the City of Fenton website and via email for those who sign up to receive them. To sign up, send your email address to Dan Brisson.
Individual driveway access info: The construction crews will inform households when driveway access may be limited. For the most part, there will be access to driveways. There may be times when residents have to wait for trucks to unload, but crews do work to minimize delays.
How long will the work take per block: Contractors said depending on the extent of the work, it could take a little less than a week to two weeks per block.
Worker safety: The contractors all asked motorists to be mindful of worker safety. If repeat abuses of reduced speed zones or ignoring of signals from workers or posted signs, police could be called to monitor the work.
Special needs: Residents with special needs are urged to let the city know of their situation. Construction managers will try to work around schedules of departure and arrival and will help in the event construction interferes with a person’s normal mobility. For instance, if a sidewalk will be temporarily torn up or blocked.
Resident safety: New asphalt is hot! Residents are urged to avoid bare feet and walking pets on new pavement for 24-48 hours depending on the weather. And even after that, new pavement can get scorchingly hot in Michigan’s summer heat.
Questions from residents
Will only half of each street be done at a time, to maintain access? Contractors said this method results in an ugly seam down the middle of the street, so they work to pave an entire block at a time.
Residents brought up the possibility of paving a student-pick-up flare near Tomek School where there currently is a rutted dirt area. The engineers said the school district did not want more parking there, so a curb will be added to the north side of Third Street to prevent use of the area.
Is this going to be a recycling project like the one that failed on some of our streets previously? City Engineer Tim Jiudici said that while some streets would be pulverized and the material used as a new base, the top layer(s) would be new asphalt. That older process isn’t really used anymore.
Will sidewalks be improved? Sidewalks at intersections will be brought up to current standards for safety and accessibility, but sidewalk repair/replacement is not part of this project.
Can we get some more safety or traffic controls on Sixth Street? Residents cited speeding traffic and possible reckless truck traffic as having changed the neighborhood feeling of the street.
City Manager Markland said the street’s signage and design need to reflect the new realities of more residences and businesses in the area.
“We will be taking a look at it,” he said. We could end up putting up more stop signs, but we can also look at other traffic-calming practices and equipment.”
For more information on this summer’s projects on Main Street and Torrey Road, go to our earlier article.
By Chris Clonts, City of Fenton communications coordinator