Township to close sidewalk gaps near three schools

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published December 7, 2017

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Macomb Township Board of Trustees has approved changes to the township’s pathway gap closure program to coincide with altered plans from the Macomb County Department of Roads for work the department had planned in the community.

The changes allow pathway gap closures near three schools while still coming in around the budget of $1 million.

Township engineer Jim Van Tiflin said the 2017 pathway gap closure program looked to connect sidewalks in the community with a focus on the intersection of 22 Mile and Romeo Plank roads. That area was targeted because the county had planned a widening project on Romeo Plank between 21 Mile and 23 Mile roads.

However, Van Tiflin said at the Nov. 20 meeting that the county had set aside the Romeo Plank widening project in favor of the widening project on 23 Mile Road that is expected to start next year and add more lanes on 23 Mile between Romeo Plank and the township’s eastern limits.

Instead of adding sidewalks in areas where construction will be done by the county in the future, Van Tiflin provided the board two alternative options with costs similar to the original project.

Van Tiflin said that with the county’s project on hold, adding sidewalks between Romeo Plank and Heydenreich Road on 22 Mile wasn’t necessary.

Van Tiflin told the board he felt it was necessary to close the sidewalk gap south of 22 Mile Road on Romeo Plank to have pathway continuity by Iroquois Middle School and Mohawk Elementary School, both of which sit south of 22 Mile on the west side of Romeo Plank.

Van Tiflin said that if that work was added to all the original work, it would drive the cost up to $1.4 million from $1.06 million.

The first alternative offered would have eliminated pathway gap closures on 21 Mile east of North Avenue near L’Anse Creuse North High School, as well as work on 22 Mile Road east of Romeo Plank.

The estimated cost for that project was $1.03 million.

“What we would like to do here is take out some gap closures east of Romeo Plank that wouldn’t have any place to connect to other than a (shopping) plaza,” Van Tiflin said. “This gets us closer to what our annual target should be.”

The second alternative, and the one the board unanimously approved, keeps the gap closures near L’Anse Creuse North and only eliminates the section along 22 Mile Road. It also provides closure near the other two schools and on 22 Mile near Hayes Road, which was also part of the original work.

The cost for the second alternative is estimated at $1.14 million, Van Tiflin said, or about $100,000 over the original cost.

Trustee Roger Krzeminski said he was OK going with the second, more expensive, alternative as it made sense to make the sidewalk changes near the schools.

“If we go with the second option, I think that will do us a lot better because of the school systems and everything else we are doing there,” Krzeminski said.

Resident Neil Kaffenberger spoke during the resident comment section before the agenda item came up and said he felt the township should spend the extra money to do all the work in order to make it safer for the entire community.

Last year, 14-year-old Victoria Cartwright was killed by a vehicle while crossing Heydenreich just north of 21 Mile near Dakota High School. A traffic study was conducted around the school to help control speeds, and it led the township to look at closing sidewalk gaps.

“For me, when it comes to public safety, there is no limitation on money, because the last thing we need to do is see another resident or anybody get hit by another car,” Kaffenberger said. “Pay the extra $400,000 and get this done on time and as scheduled.”