Port Huron moving forward with $6.7M reconstruction of Gratiot Ave.

Cars pass through Gratiot Avenue and Holland Avenue in Port Huron on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.
Cars pass through Gratiot Avenue and Holland Avenue in Port Huron on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.

Port Huron officials approved an agreement with the state for a multi-million-dollar reconstruction of Gratiot Avenue on the north end of the city next year.

The move came during Monday’s City Council meeting, where Public Works Director Eric Witter addressed the formula for how the work — targeting sections of roadway between Elmwood Street and Holland Avenue, as well as water and sewer mains — is being funded.

Council members OK’d use of a close to $4.2 million grant in a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation, including over $1.6 million from the city’s street fund and $2.5 million in federal aid administered by the state agency.

However, those funds only entail work related to replacing the roadway itself. The project’s cost overall was pegged at more than $6.7 million with additional funds in infrastructure costs not falling under the federal highway program.

“The 2,576,000 is the ineligible costs because the federal highway administration, they don’t care about utility infrastructure,” Witter said. “So, as part of doing the roadway, we looked at doing utilities. The water main’s from 1892, the sanitary sewer’s as old in some areas.”

The addition brought the city’s total cost up to $4.2 million, as well. Witter said the practice helps avoid future water and sewer issues after spending millions on the roadway alone.

“It’s the best practice to do so you’re not putting $4.2 million of the payment down and then out there with a main break the next winter,” he added. “It’s maximizing the dollars. It’s taking advantage of federal funds to reconstruct the roads and do utility improvements at the same time.”

Work on Gratiot Avenue, broken up into two sections between Holland and Garfield Street and Garfield and Elmwood streets, was originally pegged for this year, and previously, Witter said cost estimates had come back much higher in the planning processes than expected, spurring officials to amend the project.

He said in April it was moved to start in spring 2023 instead, while state reconstruction of the nearby Pine Grove Avenue got underway this year.

According to the city’s agreement with MDOT, the Gratiot work is broken up into sections based on which area of the project will be financed with federal help. Although sanitary sewer and water main replacement are not included, storm sewer work, concrete sidewalks, curb and gutters, sidewalk ramps, signage, and pavement markings are.

The last formal rating of the condition of Gratiot’s surface categorized it as being in “poor” condition — cracked with age.

“I know that it’s been pushed, and it’s certainly nice to see it’s going to happen now,” Mayor Pauline Repp said Monday, “so a lot of people have been waiting for that.”

Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or jssmith@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @Jackie20Smith.

This article originally appeared on Port Huron Times Herald: Port Huron moving forward with major reconstruction of Gratiot Avenue