by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
MacArthur Construction of Hillman has agreed to pay for the costs to test a section of pipe that ruptured in Rogers City under First Street, less than a year after being installed. It was one of two areas of First Street that had to be dug up and repaired in 2023, raising concerns at City Hall about the quality of material and how it was installed.
The first rupture, back in March 2023 at the intersection of First and Huron Avenue was repaired by MacArthur; however, the company was out of town for the October 2023 break near Woodward Avenue and advised the city to hire another local contractor to handle the job and it would foot the bill.
According to city manager Joe Hefele, MacArthur is on the hook for a little more than $13,000 for those repairs and inspections; along with agreeing to pay $9,999 to have the pipe inspected by a company in Midland as well as the $400 to ship it. The pipe was sent out for testing, Jan. 16.
“That should give us an expert opinion as to the most likely cause,” said Hefele.
The project was substantially complete, which means all of the pipe was in the ground and the homes were hooked up, November 2022. All that was left was restoration work that was done in the spring of 2023.
Regarding the rupture at Woodward, in front of Greka’s, Hefele said, “The pipe had cracked at the same point that it had cracked at the bell connection with another pipe. “What I have learned, since they went along, there is a Michigan Department of Transportation spec for material that they are allowed to bed the pipe with.”
“On a lot of First Street, you have some pretty nice sand, and that you ran into that was not nice at all, it’s very bad material, and when they got to that stretch, in order to keep going, I think the plan was to continue to backfill, but to manually pull rocks out until they were able to get a screening basket to screen the rocks out.”
Hefele said it’s at the point of the second leak that was occurring he told members of the City Council during a workshop, Jan. 19.
“The warrant requires that the contractor be responsible for all these things for a year after substantial completion,” said Hefele. “For that year,from November 2022 to November 2023, the contractor is responsible through a callback warranty to do these types of repairs and the side costs for engineering if necessary and consulting, and there has been no argument with the contractor. Everything was cordial and everybody was on the same team, everybody wants to know why this is happening.”
Hefele said his goal was to have the call back warranty extended for an additional year through November this year.
While city attorney Mike Vogler wanted to make changes to the proposed warranty, Hefele was not ready to move forward with action by council.
Hefele also said there was additional money available from the grant to test for copper and lead lines recently in the city and that could be used to do some further testing.