The Brighton City Council has approved a million dollar project that will result in a new roadway and new sewer main on nearly a thousand feet of Rickett Road, north of the railroad tracks. The project will result in reconstruction of Rickett from the railroad tracks north to Church St, and rehabbing the pavement of Church St. from Rickett to Grand River. Even more importantly, the project will result in the replacement of an old, partially collapsed, 8-inch sanitary sewer line.

An alternate bid to also reconstruct a short stretch of Rickett Road from Church St. to Grand River was not approved because of the added cost. Council approved the low bid of just over $979,000 by Dunigan Bros. Inc. of Jackson. That puts the total price of the project, when combined with the construction engineering fees by Tetra Tech of $72,000, to about $1,051,000. The city will pay for the project using $505,000 from the major street fund, $421,000 from its utilities reserve fund and $53,000 from the newly-created capital reserve fund. Geinzer said a portion of the funds to be expended for the Rickett Road project resulted from earmarking some of the city’s fund balance for “infrastructure investments” on major roads.

Mayor Pro Tem Shawn Pipoly stressed that, contrary to a social media website, the city will not be using any revenues from the street millage which passed in August of last year. Pipoly was backed up by City Manager Nate Geinzer, who said that none of the street millage will be used, with funding already having been previously obtained and earmarked specifically for that project. City Council has promised that a substantial portion of the 2.5-mill partial Headlee override, which went into effect with this summer's tax collection, will be used for neighborhood streets, with the initial project slated for the summer of 2020.

The roughly $1.1 million in revenue realized each year from the millage will be used to improve city streets, sidewalks, curbs, drainage structures and necessary rights-of-way. Under the estimated time frame, the Rickett Road project will start in the near future and be “substantially completed” by November, with final completion by December. City DPW Director Marcel Goch says the city had also wanted to install new sanitary sewer line and re-pave Rickett Road south of the railroad tracks to the south city limits, but due to the prohibitive cost of the project, that aspect will have to wait until the funds become available.

A section of Rickett south of the tracks suffered a sinkhole and sewer line collapse last year that resulted in the necessity of spending $178,000 to replace that old section of sewer line and repair the roadway. Goch says he has applied for a Category F grant of $375,000 from MDOT to help pay the cost of new sewer main and reconstruction of Rickett south of the tracks. He had also applied for a grant for this fall’s Rickett project but, due to the limited amount of state funds available, it did not receive approval. (TT)