Despite a lot of disruption, the State Street project in the City of Howell is said to be going well.

Plans call for reconstructing State Street as a festival street that is completely barrier free along with both the east/west and north/south alleys. Water mains and sewer lines are being replaced in the area, as well as storm sewer as needed and utilities are being buried. An update was provided during Monday night’s Howell City Council meeting by Project Technician Matt Davis. He said they’ve been running into a few things here and there but in general, the project is going really well despite taking place in a challenging area and tracking along the proposed scheduled for October completion. It’s about one month into the project and Davis said the removal of pavement in the alleys went very smooth with no big issues. He says they are encountering some things, like old coal chutes crews have to work around, but all in all it’s going well and in talking with property owners and businesses, all seem pretty happy with how things are going.

Updates on day-to-day activities are being sent out to Council and affected property owners and businesses, which have been well received. Mayor Nick Proctor commented that he has been making a point to stop by businesses around the area to see how they’re doing. He says all have been very complimentary of staff and while it’s a little dirty, they’re getting through it and singing the praises of staff. A meeting with property and business owners was said to be well attended and staff anticipates holding more but wants to spread them out enough for a useful exchange of information. Many council members were impressed with all of the staff praise including Councilman Randy Greene. He commented that with a disruptive project like this and having those around it singing praises instead of being upset says something really positive. Greene said having meetings is one thing but to actually act on what they’re asking for is something totally different – noting parking signs were requested and were put up by staff the same day. Davis responded that he thinks a big part of that is the people around there are excited for the project. He says they knew going in that it would be tough at times but they’re all really excited to get it completed so it’s been really nice.

As for progress, all of the storm sewer work in the private alley is done. This week, the contractor stared putting in conduit for underground electrical and installation of the water main along Peanut Row is taking place. Unfortunately, Davis says crews found a water service that was leaking and had to be repaired on Monday but service was only down for about half hour and they went door-to-door to communicate with all of the businesses in the area. He noted installation of sanitary sewer was one of the tougher parts in Peanut Row because it’s 12 feet deep and pretty close to the buildings along Grand River, but overall went smooth. Davis says they re-phased the project a little bit to try and get all of the alley work done quicker. Davis says they’re trying to do as much as they can in the alleys so they can get those paved back in and then move out into State Street where it’s a little bit more open and work affects less people. (JM)