By Jessica Mathews /

The M-59 boardwalk in the City of Howell is scheduled for some maintenance and repairs.

At a recent virtual meeting, Council unanimously approved an agreement with F.A.S. Builders of Howell to perform the repairs, at an amount not to exceed $11,070.

In 2007, MDOT constructed an asphalt non-motorized path along the south side of M-59 from the west City limits, east to Michigan Avenue, and then to the Thompson Lake Dam. The path also included four sections of boardwalk. For all non-motorized paths that MDOT constructs, a local agency is required to sign a maintenance agreement. A recent inspection on the boardwalk revealed numerous items in need of replacement. That included 205 broken deck boards, 25 broken spindles, and three broken spindle rails.

Mayor Pro-Tem Jan Lobur said she’s noticed a lot more people out and about walking and riding bikes and they really do need to keep it safe. She said it's a great spot and they need to keep it up and she’s glad staff is on top of it. Lobur said she too was a bit shocked at the amount and didn’t realize there were so many broken deck boards and spindles - adding there’s a lot more work out there to be done than she thought but feels they need to do it.

DPS Director Erv Suida told Council the boards are constant maintenance and they do inspections annually. He said they have looked into getting the boards treated more regularly but that would cost around $40,000 and is a lot more money than just the average deck.

Suida commented that they do board replacement about every two years, which ends up being a lot less. He said they’ve looked at several methods of doing the work but this seems to be the best option at this point – although they’ll continue to evaluate the situation as treatments become more available. Suida estimated they’ve probably spent around $20,000 over the course of the past 13-14 years, which really isn’t too bad for the amount of wood that’s out there.