By Susan Carroll
Review Writer, and
Repairs on the Paint Creek Dam between Lake Orion and Paint Creek could be completed within a week. The final concrete was poured Monday and the steel from the new retaining wall was due to be cut on Wednesday.
The Lake Orion Village Council, however, is holding off on accepting the emergency dam repair contracts until it can further investigate all the invoice charges submitted.
The council voted 5-0 at its meeting on Monday to postpone approving the contracts until the Oct. 9 meeting. Councilmembers Shauna Brown and John Ranville were absent, with notice.
The Michigan Department of Transportation, which co-owns the dam with the village, has offered to pay all construction costs estimated to be $535,650 and all traffic control costs estimated at $12,950. Dan’s Excavating is repairing the dam.
The dam must be inspected at least every four years. It was last inspected in October 2016 by the state. The bridge over the dam was inspected in April by MDOT and inspectors didn’t notice anything wrong at that time, said Village Manager Joe Young.
The DNR discovered holes in the dam spillway while clearing weeds off the dam on Aug. 11, and notified the village, which immediately contacted MDOT and Oakland County.
Young said that while the current costs may not reflect the final numbers, he is anticipating that the entire project could be about $700,000. The village would only have to pay $111,440, per an arrangement with MDOT.
Being co-owners of the dam, the contract between MDOT and the Village of Lake Orion states that each party has specific responsibilities for dam operation and maintenance.
Maintenance activities of the dam include an emergency action plan (EAP), testing and updating of the EAP, dam inspections, maintenance of the road, bridge and spillway structures and regular operation and maintenance with necessary related work.
The village is responsible for dam operations and maintenance, including the operation of the spillway stoplogs and the maintenance of the portions of the earth embankments within the village limits.
The village is also responsible for the dam inspections, which can be completed by either the DEQ upon request of the village at no charge; or by a consultant who meets the qualifications of the departments, for which the village would be responsible for all charges.
MDOT is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the road structural integrity, bridge and spillway structures within MDOT’s right of way.
The contract, effective March 27, 2001, is for a ten-year term and automatically renews for one or more additional ten-year term unless either party provides written notice of its intention not to renew.
Sandra Montes, MDOT regional manager, submitted an email dated Sept. 22 regarding financial responsibilities of both parties. MDOT has agreed to pay 100 percent of Dan’s Excavating invoices’ for dam repairs in the amount of $535,650; and all MDOT traffic control costs in the amount of $12,950.
She further stated that the village is responsible for 100 percent of engineering fees related to the design and inspection of the dam repairs. Hubbel, Roth & Clark Engineering has submitted invoices in the amount of $98,440. G2 Geotechnical Testing costs are $13,000.
Mary Kucharek, village attorney, in an email dated Sept. 22, advised that the village accept MDOT’s arrangement; as well as re-write and re-negotiate the contract for better clarity in the future.
At issue, though, is the cost of engineering services from Hubbel, Roth & Clark. The invoices submitted are for their initial inspection $5,450; design $21,550; and construction engineering $71,440, which includes an engineer on site for up to 8 weeks.
G2 Geotechnical Testing invoice submissions are for $13,000, which include their initial inspection of $6,000 and construction engineering charges of $7,000.
Council members and Village Manager Joe Young want to sit down with the engineers and go over the invoices submitted by HRC.
“For me, what I would like to see is the actual contract documents that they (HRC) provided,” Village Council President Ken VanPortfliet said. “Have they actually utilized all (the hours) that they considered?”
VanPortfliet complimented MDOT and HRC on the dam repairs and overall project. “The project has gone very well. I’m very pleased with it…but we need to get down to the true cost. I’m concerned about runaway construction costs.”
VanPortfliet also said they are considering payment options from the state and county loans, with an interest rate of 2.5 percent.
While Joe Young said he would like to obtain a grant and, if not available, to borrow the monies from the water and sewer department internally rather than obtaining an outside loan.
Young said he hopes to speak with all parties and get more information by Tuesday. “Hopefully, within the next couple of weeks we’ll have hard numbers on the cost.”
“Everything is safe, that’s the most important part. And in my mind, (the dam) is better than it was before,” VanPortfliet said.