IRON RIVER—An MDOT project on County Road 424 just east of Alpha doesn’t seem very likely in 2013, Mastodon Township officials learned during the June 11 Road Commission meeting here.
Township officials had their hopes up, and Trustee Ray Kudwa, told the Road Commission some were “furious” during a recent Township Board meeting that the project may not be done in 2013. “They felt the Road Commission dropped the ball,” Kudwa said.
Kudwa also said Mastodon Township is willing to pay for any culvert work, “gapping out,” paving and compacting next year “if we could get that job done this year.”
Still, Road Commission Superintendent Doug Tomasoski said he wouldn’t recommend the project go ahead. One reason: It’s a small project (less than a half mile), which pushes up unit costs.
A bigger reason: It’s an MDOT project, which means it has to follow state procedures and standards for prep work, contracts and bidding. Tomasoski said if there is an August bid-letting, the actual work still couldn’t start until October or November.
“Could it be done?” Tomasoski said. “Yes, we could attempt to get it in to get it constructed this year. I wouldn’t recommend it.” While the road is not in good shape, he said, it is not hazardous.”
All along, said Tomasoski, the 424 project had been targeted for 2014: The Road Commission did not work on survey and prep work late in 2012. But during a task force meeting last winter, there was talk that the 424 project could be moved ahead to late 2013--if it proved to be a simple project.
But snow stayed late this spring. Only after it melted could Road Commission officials see there are drainage problems and multiple culverts. “We found out it’s going to be almost impossible,” Commissioner Joe Sabol told Kudwa.
Since this is a federal aid project, all permits need to be in place before paperwork on the project goes to the state.
Board Chairman Dan Germic backed Tomasoski’s recommendation. “We’ve done things in the past where we went against Doug’s recommendation,” he noted, “and those things came back to bite us.”
With permits not expected back until fall, when winter weather is on the way, Commissioner Charles Battan said, the project might as well wait until spring 2014.
“This is an MDOT bid job,” said Tomasoski. “It will be constructed to MDOT standards, like any other federal aid job.”
In the end, the Road Commission held out hope that the process can be moved along fast enough for a needed culvert to be installed late this year and allowed to settle over the winter. Work on the road would be done the following spring.
But that depends on how quickly the permit and bid process moves. Otherwise, the entire project is in 2014, as originally planned.
• Drum roll, please! A highlight of the June 11 meeting came when Tomasoski opened bids for various township projects.
A total of 11 projects were bid out, with three companies bidding, though two only bid on some of the projects.
The next step is for the respective township boards to approve the agreements. Once they do, the projects will be put on the schedule.
Mansfield Township Supervisior Richard Dryjanski quickly noted that none of his township’s projects were bid. Tomasoski explained why: Mansfield Township hasn’t completed payment for a past project on Wright Road, which the township has been complaining about for months. No more Mansfield projects will be bid, Tomasoski said, until that is resolved.
The township’s attorney recently sent the Road Commission a letter. “We’ll contact our attorney again,” Dryjanski said to himself.
There had been an agenda item on Wright Road, but with Mark Tousignant, the ICRC attorney, unable to attend, it was tabled.
• In his superintendent’s report, Tomasoski noted that all weight restrictions have been lifted and all roads are open. Crack-filling started May 20, and over 10,500 pounds had been placed already by June 5. Crews also dealt with washouts and downed trees after storms in late May and early June.
He said crews are working with MDOT on U.S. 2 west of downtown Iron River, doing berm removal before MDOT’s project starts. Grading and chloride work will follow.
• The Road Commission received 15 bids on seven pieces of used equipment it wants to sell. Some prices had a minimum bid. “Basically, we figured we don’t want to let some items go for less than we can get for scrap.” Items include a radio system two arc welders, bay lights, trailer, electric band saw and an old dump truck.
The board agreed to sell the items to the high bidder meeting any minimum bid.
• In other business, the Road Commission:
--Agreed to purchase a replacement hose for its crack-filling machine. The current hose has had problems, and getting a new hose takes two to four weeks for delivery. When the current one fails, the new one should be in stock.
--Discussed at length a problem with receiving deliveries. The Road Commission office is closed on Fridays, and a recent Friday delivery led to a scramble to find someone.
It’s the third time this has happened, said Battan. “We had a 900-pound delivery at Oss garage,” Battan said. “You can’t get ahold of anybody. They were going to take it back to Milwaukee and give us a double charge.” Someone was finally located, but there needs to be a policy to follow in such cases.
Tomasoski said all companies are told the Road Commission is not open on Fridays. “Do we want to pay overtime when we told them what our schedule is?”
Commissioners noted noted that Central Dispatch at the Courthouse has a call list. There are concerns about who should be contacted, because of seniority and overtime concerns.