Village escapes with paying only 5.17 percent of total Paint Creek Dam repair costs

Susan Carroll

Review Writer

The Lake Orion Village Council voted to accept the offer by the Michigan Department of Transportation to pay one half of the Paint Creek Dam repair engineering costs during the council meeting on Monday.

MDOT and the village co-own the dam, which was built in 1987 with the construction of M-24.

It was initially believed that MDOT and the village would split all costs, which would have made the village responsible for an estimated $350,000 plus engineering fees.

However, after reviewing the contract between the village and MDOT, an agreement was reached that MDOT would be responsible for 100 percent of the contractor costs and the engineering fees would be split 50/50 with the village.

MDOT originally offered to pay the estimated $600,000 contractor costs, while the village would be responsible for paying the engineering costs of Hubbell, Roth & Clark (HRC), estimated at $60,000.

The total contractor costs are $670,000, payable by MDOT; and the final engineering costs are $69,270, resulting in a $34,635 cost to each party.

“MDOT’s really been the champion for us. They’ve been here, on site, yesterday all day, today. I couldn’t thank them enough. I’ve never had such a great response from a state agency before,” said Village Council President Ken Van Portfliet back in August when the problem was first discovered.

The contract between the village and MDOT is that MDOT is responsible for the spillway of the dam, according to the terms of the agreement. Since the dam failure was caused by the spillway, the village should not be responsible for the engineering costs incurred, village officials said during previous council discussions.

The dam – located under the M-24 overpass just north of where Broadway Street/M-24 intersect – controls the flow of water from Lake Orion into the creek.

The Paint Creek Dam repairs were necessary to repair a “depression” below the spillway that allows water to flow from Lake Orion into the creek unchecked.

“It appears to be some type of erosion under the bridge. There’s about a foot of water that travels under the bridge, and at the center bridge support, along the sides of that support, there’s some erosion that created a path for the water. Instead of going over the top of the bridge, it’s going down and underneath the spillway,” Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh said.

The DNR discovered the problem during an inspection on Aug. 11.

Initially, a temporary cofferdam was installed into Lake Orion to prevent water from flowing over the dam, which allowed for a complete structural assessment and then repairs, said Olukayode Adefeso, MDOT Metro Region Bridge Engineer.

All repairs on the Paint Creek Dam have been completed and the dam is performing as expected. Since the water level in Lake Orion has been lowered as scheduled, water flow over the dam has been minimal.

The water level on the lake is rising as planned on Nov. 13, and the water will be flowing full force shortly.

“I want to thank everyone involved in the dam project I don’t think people realize how strong we came together…everybody did a great job,” said Van Portfliet, thanking the village, MDOT, Lake Orion police and DPW, village employees and the fire department. “I think it is better built now then it ever has been.”


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