By Terry Rogers
On Monday, January 26, Milford City Council approved several street repair funding requests. The first was additional costs that had been incurred during the Southeast Front Street repaving project. Council approved $8,700 in additional costs for that project. The other two projects were issues identified by City Manager, Hans Medlarz.
“The Maple Avenue culvert issue was reported to me by several citizens,” Mr. Medlarz explained. “The culvert under Maple Avenue connecting Silver Lake to the millpond has been compromised and the road surface has started to settle. We have developed a design to repair the culvert at a reasonable cost, extending its life significantly. With this repair, I think the culvert should last more than 20 years.”
When asked about placing weight limit signs on the bridge, Mr. Medlarz explained that he did not feel it was necessary as very few large vehicles would be stopping on the bridge. He did mention that a permanent fix for the problem would be to eliminate the culvert and fill in the mill pond, but when such a suggestion was made many years ago, citizens were not in agreement.
“When I was acting as City Engineer many years ago,” Mr. Medlarz said. “I suggested taking steps to eliminate the mill pond. Several citizens complained because the pond has been there for many years. People enjoy the lily pads, ducks and other wildlife that inhabit the pond, so I don’t believe we should eliminate the culvert.”
Mr. Medlarz explained that Maple Avenue will need to be closed for one or two days in order to complete the repairs, but that there were easy detours around the closure.
In addition to the Maple Avenue culvert, Mr. Medlarz requested funding to repair a washout under the sidewalk at the Truitt Avenue bridge under State Route 14, as well as a change in placement of a utility pole that was impeding pedestrian traffic on the north end of Truitt Avenue.
“The sidewalk leading up to the bridge needs repair,” Mr. Medlarz explained. “A good two or three inch rain could cause it to completely crumble. As for the utility pole, it poses a risk to pedestrians who use the walkway as the electric guide wires pose a serious hazard.”
Mr. Medlarz explained that the costs for the repairs was lower since it was a slow time of year for concrete companies, so they were willing to price the jobs competitively. City council approved all four requests unanimously.
City council also approved a funding request for the USDA grant application. The funding was to cover miscellaneous fees involved in filing the application with the USDA.
“We have received approval for the first phase, a $600,000 loan and $1 million grant,” said Lisa Fitzgerald of USDA. “The city provided $400,000 which will be reimbursed upon final approval.” Mr. Medlarz explained that the funding request would cover fees involved in preparing documents as well as other fees incurred during the process. According to Mr. Medlarz, there are many steps and assessments that must be completed as part of the grant process, and those steps could incur additional costs.
Council also approved additional costs to convert a new well at the Seabury Avenue Water Treatment facility from a test well to a production well. The city would incur additional costs to change the well from a four-inch well to a six-inch well, but Erik Retzlaff of Davis, Bowen and Friedel explained that this would eliminate costs in the future if the well proves to be a high producer.
“There are some risks involved,” Mr. Retzlaff explained. “I’ve seen formations look good on paper and the sand look good, but once you start pumping, it does not meet expectations. I think we have at least a 75 percent chance of success that this well will be a high producing well, so it is feasible that we spend the money now to make it a producing well rather than a test well.”