Ishpeming construction projects progressing

ISHPEMING – Work on various construction projects in the city of Ishpeming continued this week as construction season begins to wane and winter approaches.

Included is the first contract of Phase II of the Partridge Creek diversion project that is finishing up, according to Ishpeming Interim CIty Manager and Department of Public Works Superintendent Jon Kangas.

He said construction crews are expected to finish paving by the end of this week and parts of the project that impact Division, Lake and Front streets will be finished and open to traffic while contractor A.J. Lindberg & Sons Inc. waits for the subcontractor to arrive and begin work on sidewalks.

“That portion of the downtown work will be done, aside from some restoration like sidewalks, landscaping, that kind of thing,” Kangas said.

Kangas also said replacement of the utilities beneath Hematite Drive is nearing completion, with almost all of the work finished Wednesday.

Wednesday “they were working on 36-inch storm sewer under Hematite at Second Street,” Kangas said. “I think they have to tie in one manhole there and that would just about complete the utilities under Hematite, so I believe they’re looking at getting Hematite paved in about two weeks, which will be nice.”

At a joint Ishpeming City Council/Downtown Development Authority meeting in August, the council and DDA approved spending up to $400,000 of the DDA’s funds to replace water mains and storm sewers under Hematite and Main streets.

The city has scrambled to get the work completed during this year’s construction season or risk having to return a $399,000 Downtown Infrastructure Grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation being used to fund the streetscape project, which will repave Hematite and Main and install sidewalks and curbs along Hematite.

Kangas said he is doubtful that construction crews will have time to tackle the Main Street utility work this year, as Main Street has numerous water mains – making it a particularly challenging portion – and the asphalt plant where the city gets its asphalt from typically closes for the winter the first week of November.

However, Kangas said he and the contractor are confident that Main Street north of Cleveland Avenue, Bank Street between Main and First Street, and First between Hematite and Bank can still be done this year.

“We’ve got about one month left of work that we can get done and still get paved,” Kangas said.

As far as the cost of the utility replacements, Kangas said that the short time frame requires that he expedite the work and as a result, the contractor hasn’t provided exact numbers yet.

“We don’t have final numbers from the contractor yet, but we have done some of the work because we need to get Hematite buttoned up this year,” Kangas said. “We’re trying to get those numbers all tied down so that we know how much money the DDA has to sink into it.”

Work on the Partridge Creek and Negaunee sewer and water projects are also finishing up on Washington Street near Turino Chiropractic and the Elks Lodge, Kangas said, and some minor maintenance work to the Ishpeming water tower is also nearing completion.

Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401. His email address is