Flint, MI– The fate of the 58-year-old water main under Miller Road is in the Flint City Council’s hands, officials say.

In a council committee meeting on April 6, City Engineer Mark Adas told the council that unless a contract for the water main replacement is approved at their next meeting on April 11, the road will be paved over without the necessary fix. 

That means that the city will have to tear up the repaved road to replace the main in the near future, officials say.

The proposed contract is for $1,873,634.27 with Zito Construction Company to replace the water main during the repaving of Miller Road. The money would come out of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funds. 

The city is receiving $94.7 million in ARPA funding as part of a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package intended to aid the country in recovering from the pandemic. Infrastructure is among the approved uses for the funds. 

That’s why Councilman Dennis Pfeiffer brought forth a resolution in February to use ARPA funds to replace the water main before the road is paved over. 

“Because if it breaks two months after we redo the road, where’s that money going to come from to repair the road and the water main?” Pfeiffer said at a meeting on Feb. 23. “This is the closest thing we can do to leverage these funds in my mind.”

Mike Brown, the Department of Public Works director, told the council at previous meetings that the existing water main could break at any time. He said that this project would replace the old cast iron water main, installed in 1964, with plastic pipe and new hookups to all the homes down Miller Road into that new pipe.

In March, the council voted to approve Pfeiffer’s resolution to “do all things necessary,” but since then, have postponed the resolution brought by the administration to enter into the contract and make it a budgeted expenditure. 

During the committee meeting on April 6, Councilwoman Eva Worthing said the council’s postponement of the project was “emotional” for her.

“That was emotional for me, because we’re about to pave over Miller Road with no pipes underneath because we couldn’t get it together to vote for that project. … If council doesn’t get their act together, it’s going to be another loss for our residents,” Worthing said. 

The council voted 6-0 to send the contract resolution to their next council meeting on Monday, April 11, where it will be put to a final vote. Pfeiffer and Councilwoman Ladel Lewis were absent from the meeting. Council President Eric Mays was at the meeting but was not present for the vote.

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...