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Posted on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

Ann Arbor City Council calls special meeting to approve Stadium bridges federal contract

By Ryan J. Stanton

The Ann Arbor City Council has called a special meeting to approve an agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation for reconstruction of the East Stadium Boulevard bridges.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday at CTN studios, 2805 S. Industrial Highway, Ann Arbor. The only item on the council's agenda is the contract with the federal government for the $13.9 million TIGER II grant that was awarded to the city last fall.

The agreement must be approved by the City Council, signed by the mayor and the city administrator, and then returned to the Department of Transportation.

Once the agreement has all the required signatures, US-DOT will begin to "obligate" the funds that were approved for the project in two steps, said Homayoon Pirooz, head of the city's project management unit. Once all the federal and state grants for the project are obligated, the Michigan Department of Transportation will advertise the construction contract and will hire a contractor to rebuild the bridges, Pirooz said, adding that the city will manage the construction.

Pirooz said the city expects the first $800,000 of federal funds to be obligated this week. Despite threats to the TIGER II program in Washington, that money would not be taken away, he said.

The remaining $13.1 million would be obligated by US-DOT after the city records all the required right of way easements, hopefully in April or May, Pirooz said. It's at that time when all the project funds would be safe, Pirooz said.

City officials expect demolition work on the existing bridges to start sometime in the fall. Click here for the latest timeline.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 1:27 p.m.

Why a "special meeting"? I smell some TV coverage and maybe a Dingell appearance.


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 1 p.m.

Why is this being done in a special meeting? Why couldn't council take care of this matter during a regular meeting? How much does it cost to hold a "special" meeting?

Old Salt

Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 3:33 a.m.

How about the U of M helping with a million or two for the new bridge ?

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Mar 15, 2011 : 9:13 p.m.

I added a bit of additional info clarifying the safety of the grant funds, based on what Pirooz was able to tell me.


Tue, Mar 15, 2011 : 8:55 p.m.

Is it possible that this is more hype from John Dingell's office and City Council to allay the populace that funding is secure and the worst eyesore in the history of Ann Arbor will be demolished and rebuilt post-haste? Naysayers, like the indomitable city hall critic Patty Lesko, have stated that the GOP-controlled U.S. House can rescind this TIGER II grant as fast as one can say "Jack Robinson!" and that this will likely be the endgame for these federal monies. Mr. Pirooz has appeared foolish before with his ill-informed public pronouncements. Unless Congressman John Dingell and Mayor John Hieftje delivers a public statement absolutely and unequivocally stating these funds are a "done deal", no one should hold their breath yet.

Bob Martel

Tue, Mar 15, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

Can we assume that the Federal funds are secure then? Was the angst about "losing these funds" a couple of weeks ago much ado about nothing?


Tue, Mar 15, 2011 : 8:45 p.m.

I would think that they are not secure, because they are not in the federal budget for the upcoming year. There is no federal budget past the next week or so.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Mar 15, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

Good question. Good Night and Good Luck