By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – The early, heavy snowfall Nov. 11 which halted construction on Beech Daly, between Brest and Wick, frustrated many residents, some of whom spoke at the Nov. 19 City Council meeting.
The snowfall and record-breaking cold temperatures halted the Michigan Department of Transportation and its contractor’s work on the road, and snow must be cleared, the surface dried and temperatures above 40 degrees F for a base coat of asphalt to be placed on the southbound lane.
The traffic situation is compounded by Taylor High School being east of Beech Daly, between Goddard and Brest. Keith Boc, Taylor Public Services director, said the work was supposed to be done before school reopened in the fall.
City officials released a statement on the city’s website indicating that resurfacing of both lanes will not be completed until the spring.
At the council meeting, Boc provided an update at the request of Councilman Butch Ramik.
Boc said that during a conference call the afternoon of Nov. 19 with MDOT, the contractor and the city’s engineers, he learned that the contractor was doing concrete work on the road, and the plan was to work Nov. 20 to put a tack coat, which is a light application of asphalt emulsion between hot mix asphalt layers, on the southbound lane of Beech Daly.
“It’s looking pretty good,” Boc said Nov. 19. “If it rains a little bit, we can still do the asphalt work, but if it is raining hard, we will push it off until Wednesday (Nov. 20).”
Boc said after the base course is put down, the orange barrels would be removed for the winter for the one lane. He said it would be spring before both lanes are completed.
Boc explained that as an MDOT project, they have more control over the contractors than city officials do. He said all the city can do is threaten to not give the contractor a good reference to other communities with respect to future projects.
With respect to the project timing, Boc said the bid was let, and he signed the document to proceed, on Sept. 30, and the pre-instruction meeting was held Oct. 1 with the contractor and MDOT. He said the contractor was ready to proceed immediately, but it took two-and-a-half weeks after the Oct. 1 meeting for MDOT to officially award the job to the contractor.
In response to a question about ordinance violation tickets from Councilwoman Caroline Patts, Mayor Rick Sollars said ordinance violation citations would not be written if they were caused or created by the construction.
“However, residents still have an obligation to do their part,” Sollars said. “We don’t give them a free pass just because construction is going on. I don’t want people to leave here thinking that ordinances don’t apply while construction is happening.”
Resident Deborah Mertz, who lives on Beech Daly, expressed concern about the condition of the interface with the road and driveways, which she said causes wear and tear on her tires.
Resident Vicky Miller, who is a registered nurse at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, said she gets called in the middle of the night, a job about which she said she is passionate.
“It is nothing for me to get called in at 2 or 3 a.m., so this Beech Daly project has really affected me getting to work,” she said. “Why would you start this project at this time of the year?”
Council Chairman Tim Woolley said the project was originally supposed to start in August, but the first bid was rejected because it wasn’t properly completed, so the project was further delayed while it was rebid. Then MDOT selected the bid but delayed its official acceptance for two-and-a-half weeks, which put the project into mid-October.
Woolley said now that weather has become a complicating factor, it must be remembered that money has already been invested in the road project.
“Once I heard we weren’t going to be able to finish this project this year, my concern was just getting both lanes open,” Woolley said. “One might be a little bumpier than the other, and Keith (Boc) said they are going to level things out. We totally understand the inconvenience.”
Woolley said city officials did not like what was occurring, but MDOT is overseeing the project.
“It was a split deal, so any time we can get somebody to partner in, and pay for half a project, of course we are going to do that,” Woolley said. “But unfortunately, there was just a series of items beyond our control.”
Miller said she has a short time frame to get to the hospital when she is on call, which is challenging if she gets called during rush hour.
“I have a 30-minute window to get to the hospital,” she said. “If it is your loved one lying on that table, waiting on you to get there, there needs to be some help with that.”
For additional updates on the Beech Daly construction, go to cityoftaylor.com.