By Pat Maurer
Once again, the main topic of conversation at the Grant Township meeting was repairing and maintaining their road system.
Supervisor Dan Dysinger said he and board members attended the previous week’s Clare County Road Commission’s meeting to once again ask that board to consider an ordinance that would limit truck traffic on certain roads.
“We heard the Road Commission’s feelings and their opposition to limiting truck routes. They just don’t want to do this,” he said at Tuesday’s meeting. “If it gets done, we will have to be the ones to institute an ordinance.”
During Public Comment time, township resident Bruce Tideman said, “I just can’t believe the county isn’t behind us on this.”
Dysinger outlined changes to the road construction planned for this year, which will be funded with money the township has saved over many years. Repair is planned for a total of 13 miles of blacktop with potentially some work planned to repair some gravel roads as well if there is enough funding.
The work will simply maintain some of the roads for a while, Dysinger said. The work is only the first year of a ten year plan developed in 2012 by Engineers Rowe.
Dysinger said, “Our road budget this year includes $425,000 with $25,000 being used for brining and the remainder dedicated to the plan. There will be much less funding available for 2014 or the second year of the plan estimated at nearly $400K.”
The estimated costs for work this year is $277,000, but will probably be around $300,000, Dysinger said. He added that the Road Commission would provide $35,000 in matching funds for a 2 inch overlay on two roads: one mile on Beaver/Maple road from Washington to Harrison Avenue and one mile on East Dover Road from Old U.S. 27 to Eberhart Road.
“We will have the actual costs for this year’s work May 1st when the bids are opened, Dysinger said. That will be a topic at the May meeting. “What people don’t realize is that we just won’t have the $200,000 to $300,000 to continue with the needed roadwork after this year,” he added. “The funding just isn’t there. We will have to ask for a millage to continue the ten-year plan.”
Township Treasurer Tammy Shea said, “We will only be able to do a small amount (of road work) the following year.” Township resident Doug Dysinger suggested the board hold special meetings about the road needs in the township, and said State Representative Joel Johnson should be there well. “He is our State Rep,” he said. “I would like some answers from the State level.”
Tideman agreed saying, “I would urge the board to have representatives from Rowe here and get some projections on the direction we have to go. I sure as hell don’t want to go back to gravel roads.”
Dysinger said Wednesday, according to a report from the Clare County Road Association of Michigan in2009, “In 2007, seven counties returned paved roads to gravel. By 2008, 23 road commissions were forced to make this difficult decision because they simply could not afford to reconstruct these roads” “When asked if they anticipate returning hard surface roads to gravel in coming years, 25 county road agencies indicated this was likely, another 11 that it was a possibility”.
He added, “I am not aware of statistics in 2013 on the subject but assume it will be forthcoming. Residents should also keep in mind the reconstruction costs for Old 27 between Mannsiding and M-61 is $1.6M which equals $800K per mile. Old 27 from Beaverton Rd. to Dover Rd. in Grant Township is slated for reconstruction in 2017 and is estimated to cost about $1.3M.
During his report to the board Tuesday evening, County Commissioner Jack Kleinhardt said he had attended the Transportation Committee meeting recently in Lansing. “The big problem is in the way Act 51 (funding) is set up. There are lots of proposals out there. The Governors formula would mean about the same amount of funding for us. Any additional fundschooling would go to “economic development corridors” downstate.”
He continued, “I am really nervous about these northern counties. It will be hard to compete for that money. I am predicting a ballot proposal.”
This year’s road projects in Grant Township include Crack Seal on: *Beaver Rd. from Bridge to Old US 10 (M-115), *E. Beaverton Rd. from Old 27 to S. Cornwell, *E. Dover Rd. from Grant to Old 27, *E. Rock Rd. From S. Grant to Bass Lake Rd., *5 Lakes Dr., *Lake Court at 5 Lakes, *Lone Pine Rd at 5 Lakes, *Peninsula Ct. at 5 Lakes, and *S. Grant Ave. from Maple Rd. to Clarabella. Crack Seal and Chip with Fog Seal on: E. Elm Rd. to Bass Lake Rd., *E. Surrey at intersection of Old 27, *E. Washington Rd. at Harrison Ave, *S. Grant Ave. from Beaverton Rd. to Dover Rd., *S. Harrison Ave. from Maple to Washington Rd., *S. Harrison Ave. from Old 10(M-115) to Surrey Rd., Two inch overlay on *E. Dover Rd. from Old US27 to Eberhart Ave., *Beaver Rd. / Maple Rd. from Washington to Harrison Ave.,
The plan totals 6.6 miles of crack sealing @ a budgeted amount per mile of approximately $4000, 5.3 miles of crack sealing and chip w/ fog seal at approximately $22,000 per mile and 2 miles of 2 inch overlay at approximately $90,000 per mile.
The scope of the projects would tentatively include at least 2 to 4 miles of gravel road improvements depending on where bids come in on the pavement repairs and maintenance.
Other business at the township meeting included approval of an amendment to the Road Naming and Numbering Ordinance; setting road brining dates for June 6 and July 30; and approval of bills totaling$51,977.29.
County Commissioner Leonard Strouse also noted that although it sounded in the recent newspaper article like a “done deal,” the issue of court security has not been decided at the County Commission. Kleinhardt said the proposal was to install metal detectors in the court house.”