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Ball Street Bridge plan springs a leak



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May 29, 2013 - Ortonville- A plan to replace the Ball Street Bridge in the village has been delayed due to concerns over an artisan well beneath the bridge.

During the May 28 village council meeting, Village Manager John Lyons said the construction company contracted by MDOT for the bridge replacement found an inconsistency in the bridge design that was done by Rowe Engineering and Geo-Tech Services. The design calls for the replacement bridge to be built on pylons 85 feet down through an artisan well.

"When they drive holes through it, the water comes up, and the contractor would have to stop the water and they want to know who is going to pay for it," said Lyons. "That started the problem, because MDOT does not want them to drill through the artisan well."

The Michigan Department of Transportation, which funds construction of the bridge, will not approve a design plan in which the bridge is built through an artisan well.

"They want us to reject all bids for construction, redesign and go back out for bids," said Lyons. "We pay for the design, they bid and manage the project."

The Ball Street Bridge, which is 50-plus-years-old and was deemed in need of replacement in 2009 by the state, will cost an estimated $512,000 for construction, and the design, done by Rowe, cost $40,000. Under a National Bridge Inspection System grant, the bridge was deemed critical and the village was eligible to have 95 percent of the project's construction costs federally funded. The village is responsible for 5 percent of the construction cost and 100 percent of the design and construction engineering costs.

The village manager said the village will not pay for a new design plan.

Construction, originally planned for this summer, will now be delayed, possibly until next year due to concerns over weather. A delay in replacement of the bridge is not a safety concern, Lyons added.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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