Summer road projects and detours slated

Motorists in the city of Alpena should be on the lookout for orange barrels and detour signs in the near future, as the city ramps up water and sewer work around town.

City Engineer Rich Sullenger said a large project will be taking place on Lake Street. He said there will be improvements made to the water and sewer system and a complete upgrade on the street.

“We have to replace the utilities under the street from Merchant Street to Pine Street, and there will be a new street, along with curb and gutter,” Sullenger said. “The contracts are signed with the contractor and a start date should be set soon. Once the job starts it should be complete in four to six weeks. Our target is to have it done by the time school starts.”

The cost of the job will be about $263,000, and while the work is being done there will be detours in place to direct motorists around the construction. Sullenger said some work was done on Lake Street a few years ago and the city intended to have the job completed the next year. He said the recession forced the balance of the project to be put on the back burner.

“We actually rebuilt the first section from Second Avenue to Merchant a number of years ago with the intention of continuing up Lake Street,” Sullenger said. “Funding became an issue and we just didn’t have the funding available to undertake that. We have had it in the budget and had it on the radar, and now the money is committed to get it done.”

Another project that will take place this summer will be to do sewer and water upgrades on Ripley Boulevard, which will also include extensive road work. Currently there is a large hole in the road where a water line broke this winter and caused the street to collapse. Sullenger said a temporary fix was done then and some maintenance has been done to the hole to keep it as level to the rest of the street as possible, but the proper fix needed to wait until summer.

“It should have been done a while back, but we have been working on other projects.We have been through the permit process and we will get it done as soon as we can. We have talked about different options to try to improve the ride quality over that area without spending a ton of money,” Sullenger said. “We could have work done now to make it better, then it would be torn back up in 10 days of whenever we do the work. That wouldn’t be a very good use of taxpayer’s money.”

There will also be some smaller projects taking place in town. Sullenger said there was some money left over from last year and it will be used to improve some of the streets now. He said the work is planned, but must still be approved by the Alpena Municipal council during Monday’s meeting.

“We want to resurface about 17 blocks,” Sullenger said. “We are taking the balance from the money not used last year and combining it with the resurfacing money allocated for this year to do some work on some of the high traffic areas.”

Sullenger said the work on the city’s roads is ongoing and that a list is in place which was compiled by necessity. He said it is impossible to do all of the needed work at one time, but strides are being made.

“We have a long way to go. We have identified another 20 blocks we would like to do that we just don’t have the funding for as of yet, but they will be put into the capital improvement plan and targeted for future years.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at