By Pat Maurer
Next summer Grant Township will accomplish at least the first year of a ten-year road improvement plan outlined earlier by Rowe Professional Services Company, the Township’s Engineering firm.
In August the board heard a report from Rowe about the needs of the roads in the township. The report estimated that $3.6 million is needed for asphalt projects and another $650,000 for improvements to gravel roads and recommended the work be done over a ten year period.
The cost of the study, approximately $6,800 was paid for equally by the township and Clare County Road Commission, Dysinger said at the October meeting.
The Township Board voted unanimously Tuesday evening to spend $330,000 in earmarked funds to improve 13.556 miles of paved township roads at an estimated cost of $277,644, with enough left over hopefully to improve one to two miles of gravel roads as well.
“We should have enough to do a little more than is on our first year list,” Supervisor Dan Dysinger said at the meeting. The study rated the roads from most critical to least critical with the roads that need work most listed for the first year. He said the Clare County Road Commission will pay for the engineering costs and that the roadwork should be complete by July 30, 2013.
The plan calls for “crack seal” on 6.63 miles of roads including portions of Beaver Road, East Beaverton, East Dover, East Rock Road, Five Lakes Drive, Lake Court, Lone Pine Road, Meadow Lane, Peninsula Court and Peninsula Drive, South Grant and Sockeye Drive.
Crack seal and chip seal is scheduled on 6.92 miles of roads including East Elm, East Surrey, East Washington, South Grant Avenue, South Harrison Avenue, East Dover road and East Maple Road.
The roadwork will deplete the township’s road funds, but the budget will be added to as possible each year for additional work. When the board voted to end the contract for additional road patrol last month, they agreed that those funds, approximately $20,000 a year, would be earmarked for road improvements.
After approving road improvements for next summer, keeping those roads in good shape by adopting a road restriction ordinance came up for discussion at the meeting.
Dysinger said if the township approved an ordinance restricting truck traffic on township roads it would apply to all township roads except “Collector Routes,” which are roads that eligible for Federal funding.
The board gave Dysinger permission to discuss a potential ordinance with township attorneys Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC. Of Okemos.
According to a June 2009 paper on Truck Route Ordinances, “Townships have clear legislative authority to adopt an ordinance providing ‘that only certain highways or streets may be used by trucks or other commercial vehicles’.”
The information said “Townships ;have reserved authority under the Michigan Constitution to the ‘reasonable control’ of their roads.”
Dysinger said if they (the board) had known about this and had an ordinance in place when the Michigan Department of Transportation was using Grant Road as a detour route while they upgraded M115, “MDOT would have had to have this board’s permission to use a detour route and would have had to repair any damage they caused.”
He said Grant Road repairs, since MDOT used it as a detour route three years ago, are now estimated at $1 million. “MDOT should pay for the repairs, but they won’t,” Dysinger said. “Fixing them back up is our responsibility.”
Dick Haynak, representing the Clare County Road Commission, said that the board should consider “doing something about Amish work horses on gravel roads. They leave big divots that lead to potholes and it is a big expanse to keep blading the roads. Is there any way you could impose licensing to help pay for the damage they do? I’m not against the Amish, but it is not fair to taxpayers.”
Dysinger said he would look into the matter. “This should be something the State would do,” he said.
Other business at the Grant Township meeting Tuesday evening included:
*Approval for a Board of Review date during the week of December 12 (December 12 at 4 p.m.)
*Appointment of Kent Randal, Melissa Penny and Ray Brusseau to the Board of Review and appointment of Ken Forfinski and Teresa Ziegler as alternates on the BOR.
*Approval of fund for Board of Review training for members.
*A reminder that part of the approved cost of photographing property parcels will be in next year’s budget. Only $9,000 of the $14,000 cost has been billed so far.
*Approval of bills totaling $18,968.24.